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Pennsylvania Considering Endangered Status for Bats

Pennsylvania Considering Endangered Status for Bats

Prompted by the spread of white nose syndrome (WNS) in the state, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is considering its options for protecting its resident bats, which may include adding them to the state’s list of Endangered Species.

WNS, named for the white fungus, Geomyces destructans, that infects skin of faces and wings of hibernating bats, was first documented in New York in 2006 and has since been confirmed in 21 states and four Canadian provinces. The fungus continues to spread and has killed nearly seven million bats so far.

The Commission believes that bats are in “imminent danger” and notes that some bat populations in the state have declined as much as 99 percent since WNS was discovered there in 2008. Since then, it has been found in 23 of the state’s 67 counties and the Commission believes state listing is warranted to help protect the Northern Long-Eared Bat, the Tri-Colored Bat (formerly known as the Eastern Pipestrelle) and the Little Brown Bat, reports the the Altoona Mirror.

Some additional measures the state is considering including “seasonal restrictions on timber cutting in close proximity to known maternity sites, protection of hibernacula, restrictions on winter hibernacula human entry and use, seasonal curtailment of wind turbines in critical areas and others.”

Meanwhile, mosquito populations are on the rise and West Nile virus has been found in samples from 47 counties. Nine cases have been reported, prompting the spraying of pesticides in a number of areas, which has divided the public on their safety and effectiveness.

The Commission will be meeting again about the issue on September 24 and 25 and will be accepting written public comment on its proposals through September 11.

Please send a comment to: Calvin DuBrock, Director, Wildlife Management, Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110.

Related Stories:

White Nose Syndrome Reaches Alabama

Up to 6.7 Million Bats Dead From White Nose Syndrome

Thousands of Bats Die Every Year from Wind Turbines: Can We Save Them?

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Photo credit: USFWS Headquarters

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117 comments

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7:07AM PST on Nov 19, 2012

Researchers should concentrate on WNS. And they'd better find a solution. Bats are also part of the ecosystem we also live in and we don't know exactly what would happen without them. At any rate, any extinction impoverishes our planet.

11:52AM PST on Nov 18, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

11:16AM PST on Nov 18, 2012

Signed the petition and voted 'yes' for the inclusion of bats among endangered species, which they sure deserve. I am well-aware of the problem, having read about it several times, and I feel sorry for this useful species. Surely it is an ugly and dangerous disease that affects them when they are most vulnerable, in hibernation. I hear they often wake up and die of hunger and exposure as a consequence. I do hope that some cure can be found, that they will be saved.

7:30AM PDT on Aug 29, 2012

One way to help protect the bats is to put up a "bat house" in an out of the way place in your yard. You can build a bat house or buy one.

Never knew much about bats and how beneficial they were until the Women's Garden Club sponsored a lecture about bats and how they benefit the environment.

If you happen to come across a bat just leave it alone, it won't bother you.

We've had a visitor bat for the past two winters here and twice we were able to provide shelter for him and he survived. Not kidding true story.

Kentucky has enacted legislation to protect their bat population and every state should
do the same.



5:27PM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

Anita W. “Sadly, WE are the only ones that won't become endangered”

I hate to ‘reassure’ you Anita that we most certainly will become endangered if we destroy creatures such as bees and species (such as bats) which predate on insects which spread disease. Without bees to pollinate the crops we will see a massive reduction in each harvests and this will worsen each year. It is impossible for us to even approach the efficient pollinating behaviour of bees. One of our major defences against infection is antibiotics, but over-prescription has resulted in the spontaneous mutation of antibiotic resistant infections, so our defences are already weakened. If we eradicate those creatures which limit the spread of disease we are lost. I did not read about this in a book, I am a doctor and can see this happening already, especially in the third world.

5:21PM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

signed

2:33PM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

We need bats to control mosquitos and mosquito borne diseases.

10:12AM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

Marie, If you believe in evolution, then you must accept that human beings are the top of the food chain and a "natural " part of evolution. Of course, we may probably be causing our own extinction, but that's a whole 'nuther discussion. Remember the line from Three Penny Opera===="First feed the face, then talk right and wrong; for even saintly folks may act like sinners, unless they've had their customary dinners". Ask yourself if the money spent on this election by those who had a lot of money, might not have been better spent in feeding, clothing, and housing those who are in need. Somewhere between 1 and 2 billion dollars will be spent during this campaign. Is this ethical or moral?

10:00AM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

Bats and mayflies are prime predators of mosquito larvae and adults. Probably, without bats, we would have much more mosquito-borne diseases prevalent in PA. However, the rabid bats in our legislature should be eradicated this November, thus making PA, once more a healthy, sane state to call home.

7:43AM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

Sadly, WE are the only ones that won't become endangered. It is the animals that will slowly die off because of our human actions.

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