Target: Tina Campbell, Chief of the Division of Policy and Directives Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Goal: Protect bats under the Endangered Species Act
The biggest threat to northern long-eared bats is a fast-spreading fungal disease called white-nose syndrome. The epidemic has killed more than seven million bats so far — it disrupts hibernation and has almost completely wiped out northern long-eared bats in the Northeast. Other threats to the species include habitat disruption through practices such as logging and fracking. The species is in desperate need of federal protection, yet is receiving none. If action isn’t taken soon, this species may be threatened by extinction.
In the eastern U.S., these bats have declined by up to 99 percent, as white-nose syndrome, the main cause of their decline, has spread to 25 different states. Although the species was in decline before the disease began spreading, without protection measures and recovery efforts, white-nose syndrome will inevitably wipe out northern long-eared bats.
Politicians and industry lobbyists are quickly becoming the second-biggest threat to these mammals. In the fall of 2013, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recognized the rapid decline of northern long-eared bats, and recommended that they be protected under the Endangered Species Act by the fall of 2014. However, heavy opposition from members of Congress and wildlife officials in states where northern long-eared bats live, like Ohio and Pennsylvania, has delayed protection.
Recently, the agency announced a delay and reopened the comment period on its listing proposal. Those in opposition to needed protection of the species may find their reasoning to be in vein. A 2010 study estimated that bats save $3.7 to $53 billion annually in pest-control services and American agriculture. Bats eat bugs, and that’s very good for both people and their crops. Halting the protection of northern long-eared bats is only detrimental to the species and to us.
There is no harm in offering the bats protection under the Endangered Species Act. However, there would be harm and ecological imbalance if the bats become extinct. Sign the petition to demand that these bats get the protection they deserve.
Dear Tina Campbell, Chief of the Division of Policy and Directives Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
I am writing in support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposed rule to list the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species. Northern long-eared bats can’t wait any longer for the powerful protection of the Endangered Species Act.
I am dismayed that protection for the northern long-eared bat has been delayed for six months due to political opposition. Animals such as bats cannot wait for politics when their lives are at stake. The decision to delay protection of these creatures is deeply disappointing and could diminish the species chance of survival, which is rapidly shrinking. For a species at risk of extinction, I strongly urge you to move forward with listing the species as endangered.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Dolovis via Wikimedia Commons