Tell the U.S. Forest Service to Prioritize Bat Protection
Bats in the Rocky Mountains urgently need your help. Since 2006 white-nose syndrome has killed nearly 7 million bats and has spread to 19 states and four Canadian provinces. Now it could spread farther if the U.S. Forest Service reduces protections for cave habitats.
Tell the Service that the health and survival of bats, not the desires of recreational cavers, should be its top priority on the Rocky Mountain Region's national forest lands.
Scientists believe the fungus that causes white-nose by invading bats' muzzles and wings likely traveled to North America on the shoes, clothing or gear of visitors who had earlier been in European caves. The disease first appeared in a commercial cave in upstate New York.
For more than two years, vocal members of the caving community have pressured the Forest Service to reopen caves on national forest lands in the Rocky Mountain Region. These caves were closed to reduce the risk of human transmission of white-nose. This past summer the agency allowed two caving organizations limited access under a permit system; now it’s preparing an "Environmental Assessment" for that management approach.
If bat caves become infected with the lethal fungus, the consequences could be catastrophic. White-nose syndrome is deadly serious, and the minor loss of recreational opportunities for cavers pales in comparison.
Please use the form below to tell the Forest Service to make bat protection a top priority in Rocky Mountain caves.