White nose syndrome (WNS) has claimed a staggering number of northern long-eared bats since it first broke out in 2007. Already, the species has lost almost 99% of its population in just a few short years.
Last year, due to WNS and habitat loss, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finally proposed to list these bats as endangered. But the agency soon backtracked under pressure from logging and oil and gas industries that opposed the listing.
White nose syndrome is the gravest threat to North American bats that has ever been seen.
Tell FWS to take action immediately and move forward with listing the long-eared bat under the Endangered Species Act!
I am writing to urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered and designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act as quickly as possible. I am extremely disappointed that FWS has decided to extend its deadline for a final decision on the listing by six months in response to political and industry pressure.
There is no credible scientific debate about the fact that white nose syndrome has decimated the northern long-eared bat's population. In its core range in the eastern United States, the species' population has declined by up to 99 percent. White nose syndrome is spreading west and has already been found in 25 states and five Canadian provinces. Northern long-eared bats are highly vulnerable to this disease, and there is no effective prevention or cure. Unfortunately, white nose syndrome is not the only threat facing the northern long-eared bat. It is also vulnerable to cave disturbance and habitat loss.
Northern long-eared bats are not only an important part of our nation's biological heritage, but like other bat species, they play a vital role worth billions of dollars annually in controlling agricultural pests. They must be protected as soon as possible if there is to be any hope of saving them from annihilation.
There is absolutely no time to waste in protecting the northern long-eared bat under federal law. There are no effective state-level conservation mechanisms in place; only federal law and the resources of the federal government have any chance of keeping this species from vanishing forever. Now is the time for the Service to demonstrate its leadership in the face of opposition from politicians and industry lobbyists.
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Please take immediate action to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered and designate its critical habitat before it is too late.
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