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Monday, May 30, 2011

Battling white-nose syndrome in bats

              Image: A species of Fruit bat Source of photo:http://www.biology-blog.com/blogs/archives/Animal-science-blog/July-20-2007.html
To read an article entitled, "Battling white-nose syndrome in bats" please click on the following link:

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/05/29/2337052/battling-white-nose-syndrome-in.html

It is great to see the United States Federal Government getting involved in helping bats in the United States!

"White-nose syndrome (WNS) was first noted among dead and hibernating bats found in caves near
Albany, New York, by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
beginning in February 2007. Affected bats had a white substance on their face and wings.
In early 2008, “white-nosed” bats were once again seen in sites where bats hibernate
(hibernacula). Since March 2008, biologists estimate that over a million bats have died
from this disease, many of which have been little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus). White-nose
syndrome mortality has been documented in 13 states in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest,
and in 2 Canadian provinces (Ontario and Quebec)."
(source:http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/disease_information/white-nose_syndrome/ )

For those of you who do not know, bats are a very essential animal in our World! These animals
pollinate  certain species of trees in this World, (and are the only pollinators for these trees: "(for
instance the the African baobab tree and the Australian ironwood. "Many important tropical 
fruits, such as wild bananas, avocados, figs and mangoes, are dispersed mostly by bats"
(source:http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/Profiles/Mammals/BatsofColorado/TheImportanceofBats.htm )  In addition, "Fruitbats also disperse plant seeds to new places and
habitats". (source:http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/mammal/eutheria/chirolh.html ) and these
species is especially important in controlling insect populations (especially insects known
to feed on human crops."In temperate and tropical ecosystems, bats are the main consumers of night-flying insects."


"Bats are also highly important in the ecology of caves. Because deep caverns receive little or no 
sunlight to sustain plant life, the energy to support cave ecosystems must be delivered by animals.
Because bats often use deep caverns for roost sites and may gather in large numbers, their droppings 
(guano) provide energy and nutrients on which other organisms such as bacteria, insects, mice, rats and 
even fish can survive. In fact, many entire cave ecosystems are the result of historical visits by bats, and 
caves without bats often are biotically impoverished." 
 (source:http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/Profiles/Mammals/BatsofColorado/TheImportanceo
fBats.htm )

Bats are another species of life on this planet which have gotten a bad rap from the media. 

Sure there is a species of bat which eats blood and it is true that some bats do carry diseases,
however, can you image what life would be like in the summer in your country if you could not
go outside because there were so many mosquitoes and flies?  We humans also carry diseases!
Please read this article, it indicates some of the myths humans have created about the bat species":

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0204/feature7/online_extra.html 

 Did you know that bats are the only mammals which are capable of flying? That is the truth!  Thank

goodness they can otherwise we might not have any crops left due to predation from insects!  Sadly, 
in some parts of the World bat populations are endangered.  "Of the forty-four species native to 
North America, six are officially listed as endangered and eighteen more are candidates for listing 
under the federal Endangered Species Act. The major cause of the declines in our bat populations is
thought to be primarily careless destruction by human activities, including deforestation and cave or 
mine closures."
(source:

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bats_tx.htm

 

"In a paper published in the journal Science, bat researchers estimated that a single colony of 150 
brown bats in the U.S. state of Indiana eats around 1.3 million pest insects a year, and that the 
value of such bats to agriculture may be around $22.9 billion a year."
"They criticized a lack of funds and efforts to save the bats and to find out more about 

what is causing their widespread population decline. The current "wait-and-see" approach is 
unacceptable, they said."
 
"Bats are among the most overlooked, yet economically important, non-domesticated animals in 
North America, and their conservation is important for the integrity of ecosystems and in the best 
interest of both national and international economies," the scientists, led by Justin Boyles
of the University of Pretoria in South Africa, wrote in the journal."
"The life histories of these flying, nocturnal mammals -- characterized by long generation times

and low reproductive rates -- mean that population recovery is unlikely for decades or 
even centuries, if at all."


(source:


http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/31/us-bats-whitenose-agriculture-idUSTRE72U5UJ20110331 )

  " Nineteen species of bats have been recorded in Canada, and 17 of them are regular residents. 

Bats are long-lived mammals, the current record for being a banded little brown bat from a mine in eastern Ontario that survived more than 35 year." It is interesting to note that:


"Bats are not blind. The eyes of many bats that eat insects are inconspicuous, but bats see very well
and use vision for many of the things they do. However, as far as we know, Canadian species
use echolocation to locate their prey, and their large ears reflect the importance of sounds in their lives."

 "Disturbance by people is probably one of the main threats to the survival of bats. Disturbances in
nursery colonies often result in abandoned young which do not survive the experience. Disturbance
during hibernation rouses bats, which in turn forces them to burn energy they otherwise would use in
hibernation. One disturbance of this sort costs a little brown bat the energy that would sustain it over
60 days of hibernation. Effective conservation means protecting bat roosts from people."


(source:http://www.hww.ca/hww2.asp?id=63 )

Please make sure that you do not bother roosting bats, this species is essential for the World's ecosystem!
Scientists have learned that the White-nose syndrome is caused by the  fungus Geomyces destructans. 
Source:
  http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/31/us-bats-whitenose-agriculture-idUSTRE72U5UJ20110331

Hopefully this new research finding  will allow scientists to find a way to prevent this fungus 
from developing into White-nose  syndrome! 

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed



Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia



A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed



Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein



The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi



The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller



Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns



Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama



Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -



Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.