Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bats falling victim to white-nose syndrome

Here's an environmental threat that's probably not on your radar. America may soon be a land without bats.

Bats are dying, felled by a white-nose syndrome, a fungus that appears on their faces and wings. No bat species is immune to the syndrome.

About 90% of bats in Connecticut died this winter because of the disease. Nearly 100% of the bats that normally travel from New York to hibernate, have succumbed to the fungus. Experts can't figure out how or why the fungus spreads so quickly.

And now the fungus is headed to Alabama and other states.

Bats devour insects, with some species eating hundreds of bugs per hour. Bats are nocturnal creatures and every night, eat millions of pounds of insects that attack crops.

If bats vanish, humans will double up on pesticides. And that would be an environmental disaster.

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