Center for Biological Diversity

Become a Bat Advocate: Your Voice Urgently Needed Today

Little brown bat with white-nose syndrome
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White-nose syndrome is a newly emergent wildlife disease that has been devastating bat populations in eastern North America since 2006. It was first found in a commercial tourist cave near Albany, New York, and has since spread rapidly in all directions, including 19 states and four Canadian provinces where the disease is confirmed or likely.

The disease is passed from one bat to another but likely can be spread by people too. Indeed, the disease probably came to North America from Europe, where the fungus exists but does not kill bats, on the gear or clothing of cavers.

In 2009, the fungus believed to cause the disease was found in western Oklahoma, in an apparent jump of more than 900 miles likely due to an accidental human transmission. One more such long-distance jump could put white-nose syndrome in the heart of the West. For this reason, it is absolutely imperative that caves and mines are closed to all non-essential human access across the West, where the disease is not yet found.

You can help save our bats. Be a Bat Advocate and join the Center for Biological Diversity in telling the Forest Service that the federal government must take action immediately to close caves to non-essential human access in the Northern Region of the Forest Service.

The public comment period closes June 30, and many comments already submitted oppose the cave closures so we need your immediate help. Fill out the form below and share with your friends. For more information on the proposed closures, see additional information at the bottom of this page.

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Please take action by June 30, 2011.

Photo of little brown bat with white-nose syndrome by Al Hicks, New York Department of Environmental Conservation.

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More information about cave closures in the West:
The Northern Region of the U.S. Forest Service is considering an emergency cave closure designed to reduce the risk of human transmission of white-nose syndrome. Already the agency has issued closure orders for caves throughout the Eastern, Southern and Rocky Mountain regions, encompassing most of the states east of the Rocky Mountains as well as Colorado and most of Wyoming. The Forest Service was poised to enact another closure order this spring for national forest lands in the Northern Region, which includes Montana, North Dakota and northern Idaho, when push-back from cavers and others dissuaded the agency from taking immediate action. Instead the Forest Service has postponed its official decision and is taking public comments until June 30. Many of the comments to date oppose the cave closure, and the Forest Service is likely to back off its initial plan unless more bat supporters weigh in.

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