Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bats are Dying: Why Should You Care? (and a hidden caveat!)

In my daily emails, I get one about animal health and business issues worldwide.  This is about a topic that's come up in many of my daily updates from the AVMA.  I've read it and admittedly didn't really "think" about what it meant. I kept seeing it pop up and thought "oh yeah, that..they'll figure something out to fix that." That's me and my faith in science.  But today something else in this article caught my eye and that's the caveat that's hidden in this story.

So first, the story: Bats have been dying of a fungal disease called white-nose syndrome. Bats have a bad rap. *I* have known for quite a while that bats are very beneficial to us. They are not "out to get you" anymore than any other animal. They are not going to turn into vampires. They can transmit rabies (but so can a whole lot of other animals, notably those unvaccinated "stray" cats) BUT they do far more good than harm. The sheer numbers of insects they consume is astounding! 

Bats worth billions

Posted by Beth Daley April 7, 2011 09:16 AM

Ever since bats literally began falling out of the Northeast winter sky four years ago, scientists have raced to understand a mysterious illness that has caused bat populations to regionally decline more than 70 percent.

The crash is unprecedented – the little brown bat is expected to become extinct in 20 years from the illness - yet public reaction has, at best, been muted. Researchers blame the “ewww” effect: Panda and polar bears have a lot more going for them in the cute department.

But now, researchers at Boston University and elsewhere have documented just how much these bats are worth to the U.S. agriculture industry: At least $3 billion.

Here for FULL Story

So what? Well, if it costs the agriculture industry money, how do you think they'll make up the money lost? Higher costs for you, the consumer of agricultural products (of which they are countless ones in all aspects of our lives).

What's also mentioned in this story is something else that is negatively impacting bats and helping speed along extinction: wind energy development.

This is ANOTHER great example of how "green" can seem so great (to some) but when you examine it further, there is always a cost. Nothing is free. There is always a trade off. Something that seems so wonderful can often have enough negative points that it's not worth doing. 

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