From Albany, New York: “Wildlife biologists studying a mysterious fungus killing off hundreds of thousands of bats around America want to find out if they can repopulate caves decimated by the disease.”
At Sylvan Dell, we’re all about wildlife preservation, so this news is upsetting. (Especially since we have a Spring 2010 release entitled Little Red Bat, from author Carole Gerber and illustrator Christina Wald!) The bats in question in this case are brown bats, and in the past several winters, it is estimated that over 500,000 bats were wiped out by this fungus. Now, researchers plan to introduce 79 healthy bats to hibernation sites in Vermont in an effort to repopulate the area.
This ambitious effort is not aimed specifically at curing the disease. Instead, it is an experiment to see if caves previously affected by the fungus can sustain new populations of little brown bats. “Can you have bats successfully survive there? Or will they develop the disease even if there aren’t any infected bats there?” asked a wildlife biologist for New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation.
According to the Fox News article, “First noted in upstate New York in 2006, the disease has spread around the Northeast and has been detected as far south as Virginia. Researchers worry about a mass die-off of bats, which help control the populations of insects that can damage wheat, apples and dozens of other crops.” Bats are an important part of our environment. They keep ecosystems in balance, so let’s all keep our fingers crossed that this repopulation is a massive success!
For the article in its entirety, visit Fox News. For more about the 2010 Sylvan Dell Release, Little Red Bat, take a sneak peak: http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com/SneakPreview.htm.