All over the East Coast, thousands of bats are dying slow, painful deaths from a fungal disease called "white-nose syndrome." In some places, the death toll comprises almost 100% of the population. Since some bats only bear one pup a year, it is unlikely their species will ever recover.
Though the disease's method of progression is not entirely known, one thing is sure: humans aren't helping. Not only can hikers track potentially contaminated material from cave to cave, they can also wake bats from their slumber: a potentially fatal mistake that can further weaken the bats' already compromised immune systems.
In North Carolina, home to several cave systems, the Nature Conservancy has already begun to take action to protect the bats. They've already closed Bat and Rumbling Bald Caves; however, many other caves have remained open.
Tell the US Fish and Wildlife Service to close all of NC's caves immediately and save the bats while we still can!
I am writing to ask you to close all of North Carolina's caves to hikers. The deadly "white-nose syndrome," a fungal infection that has claimed the lives of thousands of bats along the Eastern seaboard, has already made its way to parts of North Carolina; if we don't take action soon, the entire bat population could soon be gone.
Although caving is a popular recreational activity for many, a human presence in cave systems is only detrimental to the already weakened bats. Not only do hikers risk tracking material from cave to cave; they also can wake up bats from slumber and further weaken their chances of fighting off the disease.
The Nature Conservancy has already started to close some caves, but that is not enough. Please intervene and close the remainder of North Carolina's caves -- before it's too late for all of the state's bats.
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