Thursday, April 16, 2015

Batting Around This Post

Has nothing to do with baseball:

"US adds protections for long-eared bats; Species, racked by fungus, listed as threatened" by David N. Goodman Associated Press  April 02, 2015

DETROIT — The federal government said Wednesday that it is listing the northern long-eared bat as threatened, giving new protections to a species that has been nearly wiped out in some areas by the spread of a fungal disease.

White-nose syndrome was discovered among bats in a cave near Albany, N.Y., in 2006 and since then has killed millions of the flying mammals in the Northeast, South, and Midwest. It spreads while they congregate on the wet walls of caves or abandoned mines, interrupting their hibernation and causing them to starve or dehydrate.

‘‘Bats are a critical component of our nation’s ecology and economy,’’ US Fish and Wildlife Service director Dan Ashe said in a statement. He said they play a key role in insect control and ‘‘we lose them at our peril.’’

The service concluded that the northern long-eared bat meets the criteria for a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. It stopped short of declaring it endangered, which would mean that it is in danger of extinction.

While the threat to the northern long-eared bats and its cousins is dire, the tools to protect them are limited, said Tony Sullins, Midwestern chief of the endangered species program for the Fish and Wildlife Service, because the main threat is from a disease rather than human-induced changes in the environment.

The protective measures improve their breeding opportunities by restricting some logging and tree removal from forest areas where the bats spend the warmer months. They will be in effect in June and July, when newborn bats live in nests before learning to fly, he said.

White-nose syndrome has been confirmed or is suspected among northern long-eared bat populations in 28 of the 37 states where the species lives, Sullins said. He said the species has been hit hardest in New England.


The most likely candidate, as with the bees and the butterflies, is the unmentioned part of the equation: GMOs.