There were 7,000 brown bats in New Brunswick in 2011 – and only 22 this spring. A disease called white-nose fungus is wiping the winged mammals out. Scientists say that, in some areas, three types of bats (the little brown bat, northern myotis and tri-colored bat) have been “functionally extirpated.”
But Canada’s Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq has yet to designate these three bat species as endangered.
White-nose fungus occurs in cold weather. It grows over bats’ faces in winter, while they’re hibernating in places like caves and old mines. There is no known way to cure or contain the fungus, which has also killed millions of bats in the U.S. Bats have only a single pup per year, so it is highly unlikely that species of bats affected by white-nose fungus will recover any time soon.
It was almost a year ago that the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada recommended that Minister Aglukkaq designate the little brown bat, northern myotis and tri-colored bat as endangered under the Species at Risk Act. But Minister Aglukkaq has yet to say whether she plans to make a decision about listing the three bat species as endangered.
Time is running out for Canada’s bats. Scientists say it is inevitable that white-nose fungus will spread to Manitoba, British Columbia and elsewhere. It is all the more urgent that the Canadian government do everything it can to save bats, who play a key role in keeping our forests healthy and who protect our crops by eating insects.
Tell Canadian Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq to declare the little brown bat, northern myotis and tri-colored bat endangered!
You can sign the Care2 petition here