Declining U.S. Bat Population

Declining U.S. Bat Population

More than 1 million bats have died from white-nose syndrome in the past four years. What’s causing the disease and how a declining bat population affects the environment and the U.S. economy.

Bats have lived in North America since the dinosaur age. The only mammals capable of flying, these creatures are often misunderstood as aggressive, blood-sucking predators. But bats are critical to the ecology of the United States because of their appetite for eating insects and ability to pollinate flowers and plants. In the past four years, millions of bats have died from a skin disease called white-nose syndrome. First detected in New York, the disease has all but wiped out the bat population of the northeast and has quickly spread to 16 states. Diane and guests discuss concerns over the declining U.S. bat population.

Guests

Cynthia Moss

professor, University of Maryland; director, auditory and neuroethology bat laboratory.

Daniel Ashe

director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Mylea Bayless

conservations programs manager, Bat Conservation International

David Blehert

microbiologist, U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center

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