Bats that eat crop pests are dying off

There’s an animal apocalypse afoot in the Northeastern U.S. Between 5.7 million and 6.7 million bats are estimated to have died since 2006 from white-nose fungus in 16 U.S. states and Canada, according to officials at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The new estimate finds that the death toll is far worse than wildlife biologists had believed, perhaps five to six times as high as a previous count in 2009, and it could spell disaster–not just for the animals but for humans as well.

A bat can eat her weight in insects every night, million sof pounds of insects collectively.  If the bats go extinct, insect poulations will explode, including pests that eat food crops, infest forests with valuable timber, and spread disease.  Bats in the west haven’t caught this fungus yet but biologists are concerned it will spread.   Park, A.  30 jan 2012. Bat Signal. Bats are dying in record numbers, heralding a real problem for people.  Time magazine.

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