August 2009, Volume 7, Issue 8

Tell Congress to Act on WNS


© Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department
White-nose Syndrome is decimating hibernating bat populations across the northeastern United States. In the past three years, it has killed a million or more bats with mortality approaching 100 percent at some hibernation caves. Now, as we approach another winter, this mystifying disease is on the edge of the American South. Some of the largest hibernation sites for endangered gray myotis – and other bat species – are in its path.
 
Time is running out. Entire species are potentially at risk across North America if solutions are not found soon. And Congress is doing little to help.
 
BCI Founder Merlin Tuttle and other leading bat scientists and conservationists testified in Congressional hearings about the ecological and economic importance of bats and the urgent need for research to stop the spread of this devastating disease.
 
They were well-received, but, unfortunately, Congress has disappointed us. The House Appropriations committee has written a bill with very little funding, and that is limited only to monitoring WNS in specific geographical areas. The bill does not fund vital research into causes and solutions. Simply monitoring the status of the disease and counting the number of dead bats will not solve this crisis.
 
Now we need your help. Please contact your U.S. Senators and Congresspersons and urge them to amend this bill to provide funds for WNS research while there is still time to save these bats.
 
Individual Congressional email contacts can be found at www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm and writerep.house.gov. Bat Conservation International offers a sample letter that you may want to cut and paste into an email to your representatives. It is available at www.batcon.org/wns.
 
With federal funding uncertain, donations to our WNS Rapid Response Fund are more important than ever. Contributions in any amount will help BCI and its partners fight this devastating threat to bats.

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