Few animals have as undeserved a bad reputation as bats do. Far from creepy or dangerous, bats actually provide incredibly valuable services like pollination or eating insects that could otherwise kill crops or make us sick.
North American bats like the Northern long-eared bat are being decimated right now by a fungal disease called “white nose syndrome.” This epidemic has lent new urgency to efforts to protect bat habitats and reduce other threats to their survival. Sadly, some in Congress don’t seem to agree. Last year saw several legislative attacks on the efforts to protect this species. And thanks to pressure from the oil, gas and timber industries (which have a vested interest in seeing the bat’s habitat stay less protected), the Northern long-eared bat hasn’t even been given the level of protection under the Endangered Species Act that it desperately needs. We’re fighting these battles for the bat in the courts and on Capitol Hill, but we’re going up against a decidedly anti-wildlife Congress and many extremely well-funded industries; it’s going to be a long road ahead.