Keep Caves Closed to Save Our Bats
White-nose syndrome, an invasive fungal disease shown here covering a colony of Indiana and little brown bats, has devastated eastern bat populations over the past several years. The death toll has surpassed 7 million.
In an effort to slow the spread of the epidemic into the West, in 2010 the U.S. Forest Service limited cave access on national forest lands in the Rocky Mountain Region -- in Colorado, South Dakota and part of Wyoming. Now the time to renew that closure is coming up, and the Service is reconsidering its policy.
Some cavers are cheering the possibility that they may explore caves on national forest lands again soon, but the survival of bats has to be our national priority. The Forest Service needs to hear from wildlife advocates right now, when the survival of entire bat species is likely at stake. With no known cure for the disease, the only way we have to prevent the spread of white-nose syndrome is to stop people from transporting it.
Please -- speak up by using the form below to ask the Service to reaffirm its commitment to western bats and farmers and maintain the only cave-management policies that have a chance of saving these unique animals.