Target: Dr. Christopher Cornelison, Georgia State University
Goal: Praise successful rehab of bats effected by white-nose syndrome, which has killed nearly six million bats in 10 years.
For the first time ever, scientists have successfully rehabilitated bats affected by white-nose syndrome (WNS), a deadly ailment that invades the bodies of bats during hibernation and causes dehydration and starvation. Since its introduction to the United States 10 years ago, the fungus has caused the death of nearly six million bats across the United States and Canada. Thanks to a collaborative effort between several scientists and wildlife organizations, the world’s first group of 75 infected bats has been released into the wild after symptoms of WNS disappeared.
The breakthrough that led to this success was made in 2012 when a Georgia State University researcher discovered that Rhodococcus rhodochrous, a bacteria commonly found in North American caves, inhibits the growth of the WNS fungus. With the help of the U.S. Forest Service, the Tennessee Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the Kentucky and Missouri Departments of Conservation, and Bat Conservation International, scientists were able to complete the field tests that led to the successful rehabilitation of infected bats.
Bats are considered a keystone species, which means they are essential to maintaining the natural environment as we know it. They serve as pollinators, pest-controllers, and seed-spreaders, and are essential to the agriculture industry of the United States. The creatures are estimated to save farmers a whopping $23 billion per year in pesticide costs, and their excrement is known to sustain entire cave ecosystems.
This new breakthrough will not only benefit millions of bats, but will positively influence the natural world as well as the agricultural industry. Sign the petition below to congratulate the researchers and conservationists on their first successful rehabilitation and release and urge continued work to save America’s bats.
Dear Dr. Christopher Cornelison,
For the first time ever, scientists were able to successfully rehabilitate bats suffering from WNS, a fungus which infects their bodies during hibernation and causes death by dehydration and starvation. A bacteria, Rhodococcus rhodochrous, has been found to inhibit the growth of the deadly fungus.
This new breakthrough will not only help keep bat populations up, but will benefit the natural environment as well as the agriculture industry, as bats are key for pollination and pest control. We, the undersigned, applaud the success of your research and urge you to continue working to save bats in America.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: United States Fish and Wildlife Service