Ask Congress to Fund the Fight to Save Bats
We're in the middle of another disastrous year for North American bats: White-nose syndrome, the bat-killing fungal disease that's been sweeping the country, has reached Alabama, Delaware, and Missouri. It continues to spread throughout the heartland, the core range of two endangered bat species. Nearly 7 million bats have died since the white-nose outbreak in 2006.
Right now the bats' best champions in Congress, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), have requested $8.5 million for white-nose syndrome treatment research and management -- but the current proposed budget devotes only $1 million to fight the epidemic, a huge cut that would severely hurt research and containment efforts.
Federal agencies like the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management desperately need money to manage caves and prevent human-caused transport of the deadly fungus, which is still absent in the West.
If bats continue to disappear, the number of insects will skyrocket, and scientists estimate the costs to farmers from crop loss and increased pesticide use could be between $3.7 billion and $53 billion a year. U.S. agriculture can't afford to lose bats -- nor can the rest of us. If left unchecked, white-nose syndrome will soon become a disaster from coast to coast.
Please call or use the form below to ask your legislators to support $8.5 million for bats, and for the pest-control services bats provide to farmers and us all. We need this vital funding for the 2013 fiscal year. It's not a cure, but it's an excellent place to start.