Conservationists have filed an appeal this week against U.S. Forest Service (FS) plans to reopen caves in the Rocky Mountain region where they have been closed in an attempt to stop the spread of white-nose syndrome.
Millions of bats have been killed by white-nose syndrome in the U.S. and Canada since it was first discovered in New York in 2006, while some species have been left facing the risk of extinction as a result.
In 2010, the FS closed caves in the Rocky Mountain region in an attempt to stop it from spreading there, but according to the Center for Biological Diversity, pressure from cavers has caused it to change course and consider opening caves, despite the belief that humans may be responsible for helping this disease spread by transferring it between caves via contaminated clothes and gear.
Please sign the petition asking the Forest Service to help protect bats by keeping caves in the Rocky Mountain region closed.
As someone who is concerned with issues concerning wildlife and the fate of our valued bat species, I was beyond distraught to learn that the Forest Service is considering opening caves in the Rocky Mountain region, despite the threat of humans furthering the transmission of white-nose syndrome.
Not only do bats serve a beneficial role in the ecosystem, but their service as insectivores is invaluable. With this disease wiping out millions of bats and leaving some species facing the risk of extinction, it's unconscionable to think that caves would be opened for the benefit of a small interest group.
I sincerely hope you will reconsider this plan and do everything in your power to protect bats, instead of adding to the risks they're already facing.