Bat Threats (White nose syndrome and wind turbines)
Even though bats are highly adaptable creatures, there are some elements in society that can be huge problems
for them. These problems have been identified as threats to the ultimate survival of the bat. Two of them that have
been identified are white nose syndrome and wind turbines.
To date more than 1 million bats in the Northern part of the USA have been killed due to white nose syndrome.
This is a type of fungus that is white in color. It can grow in various parts of the body. Those most typically
affected include the wings, ears, and muzzle.
Between 90% and 100% of those that are affected by it will die. The fact that this fungus rapidly spreads in a
population of bats means that it can kill high numbers of them in very little time. Several different caves in
the areas of New Jersey, Canada, Tennessee, and New York have been identified by researchers.
White nose syndrome has been identified in many different species of bats. The fact that the number of them that
can be killed by it is very high, this results in significant drops in many of these populations out there. Efforts
are in place by experts to try to identify what the underlying cause is of such fungus. They hope to be able to
identify it and then work to kill it.
By destroying this fungus from the environment of the bat they feel they could offer a very good method of
helping many species increase their numbers. With a colony with thousand of them, a significant number of them lost
due to such a fungus spreading within the colony.
How does the white nose syndrome affect the bats? Studies show that this fungus actually disrupts their normal
hibernation cycles. It also results in them losing their fat that has been stored up in the winter. As a result
their bodies are going to need food which is very hard to find during that time of the year. They can also die from
bitter cold or develop pneumonia.
Wind turbines continue to be cropping up all over the United States. They are an effective method of creating
energy. However, they also create problems for the bats. The lungs of bats are very sensitive to changes in the air
pressure around them if it occurs suddenly. This is what occurs when bats end up very close to wind turbines.
This has been carefully researched due to so many dead bats in such areas. However, they didn’t seem to show any
signs of outward trauma. To make the situation even worse, it seems that the bats are naturally drawn to the wind
turbines. They offer them a place to roost for sending out echoes for prey and to consume prey they may have
captured in mid air.
However, you won’t find sympathy from many humans in this department. They certainly aren’t going to give up
their benefits from wind turbines to be able to save some bats. This has lead to quite a debate with those that see
it differently. There are many animal rights groups with efforts in place to reduce the number of bats dying
annually from wind turbines.
These groups want to slow down the erecting of additional wind turbines. In many areas of Texas, Kansas,
Colorado, and Oklahoma though there are more and more of them being added all the time. There are even farmers and
ranchers that are electing to use their land for this purpose instead of growing crops or raising livestock.