Protect Endangered Bat From Extinction

northern_long-eared_bat_by_dave_thomas

Target: Tom Melius, Midwest Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Goal: Designate critical habitat for the threatened northern long-eared bat.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently decided against protecting critical habitat for the northern long-eared bat, despite a drastic decline in the species’ population. The northern long-eared bat is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and according to the Center for Biological Diversity the species’ populations have declined by 90 percent in their core range. Disease and habitat loss are the driving forces behind this decline, and recovery will be all the more difficult without critical habitat protections.

The northern long-eared bat has been suffering from white-nose syndrome, a deadly fungal disease that has killed more than 5.7 million cave-dwelling bats. The northern long-eared bat is one of the species most impacted by this disease, and as a result the Fish and Wildlife Service originally proposed that the bat be listed as endangered before lowering the classification to threatened. Since the species lacks the full protection that would come with an endangered status, its habitat remains at risk from destruction such as logging and oil development.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has defended its decision to deny critical habitat protections by claiming that it would not be “prudent” as it would increase the risk of vandalism and disturbances at the caves and mines. Conservationists, however, have pointed out that species with critical habitat are twice as likely to recover as those without these designated protected areas, and suspect the Fish and Wildlife Service of giving in to pressure from industry. Regardless of whether these allegations are true, it is certain that the northern long-eared bat would have a better chance of recovery if its habitat is protected.

These threatened bats are quickly heading toward extinction, and need to be protected in order to stand a chance against the devastating impact of white-nose syndrome. Sign the petition below to urge the Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider its refusal to grant this species critical habitat protection, and demand greater conservation efforts to keep the species from dying out.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Melius,

Northern long-eared bats are heading toward extinction at an alarming rate, with populations declining by 90 percent in their core range. Critical habitat protections would make a huge difference in helping this threatened species toward recovery, yet the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided against designated habitat due to a possible increase in vandalism and disturbances at caves and mines.

I am urging you to reconsider the decision against critical habitat protections. Studies have shown that species with critical habitat are twice as likely to recover as those without designated protected areas. The northern long-eared bat is at serious risk from white-nose syndrome, a deadly fungal disease that is wiping out the population, and any chance to help its recovery should be taken.

This species is highly threatened, and needs to be protected from the added risk of habitat destruction. Please take action to save the northern long-eared bat from extinction by making an effort to protect its habitat.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Dave Thomas

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