Natural Resources

Fall 2011 Natural Resources Law Class at UB

Endangered Species Watch: The Indiana Bat or Myotis sodalis October 23, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kushy11 @ 2:02 am

I thought it would be interesting to cover an endangered species that would have special significance for the month of October (the month of Halloween).  Most people would not call bats cute, but this species, the Indiana Bat, is particularly adorable as bats go.  They are .2-.3 ounces, the weight of 3 pennies, pennies!

This particular species of bat has a dark brown color and is roughly 2 inches in length.  The Indiana Bat is listed as Endangered: “in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range”. 16 U.S.C.A. § 1532. The Indian Bats’ range covers most of the eastern half of the United States as north as Vermont and as south as Florida.

These bats and several other species are dying of a disease called White-Nose Syndrome, which I initially mistook for White-“noise” syndrome, which I thought made sense because of bats’ use of echolocation or sonar. But White-nose syndrome is wiping out bats of every species.  White fungus grows on the bats’ nose, wings, ears and other exposed skin areas. The fungus disrupts the bats winter hibernation, waking them from their state of torpor, often causing the bats to starve to death.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service a recovery plan was initially drawn up in 1983 and they are now revising that plan. It is the belief of many, that this white fungus is being spread by humans who are covered in it when they are exploring one cave, and carry with them to another cave on their equipment and clothing which is unwashed or not disinfected.

In the United States alone there are currently 1,066 species of animals and plants listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service and this is but a small glimpse of one.

Signed: Kristen Cushman-Smith


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