PHOENIX, April 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Celebrate BATS and learn the facts! U-Haul SuperGraphics is recognizing the true role of bats in our environment. What's Fact? What's Myth? What do bats really do and why are they worth protecting?
"Often overlooked, or even feared, bats are some of the most diverse, ecologically important and unique mammals on Earth," stated Rob Mies, director, Organization for Bat Conservation. "Bats are a critical part of our environment. One bat alone can eat up to 5,000 insects in one night!"
That insect control alone has been valued at $23 billion a year in savings to the agricultural industry. This reduction in pesticides not only saves costs but also prevents further negative effects on all of us. Bats are pollinators of hundreds of plants, some of which are exclusively pollinated by bats. Anyone who appreciates tequila should thank the Long-nosed bats.
There are nearly 1,300 kinds of bats worldwide, making up roughly a quarter of all mammalian species. Beyond their role in the environment, bats are involved in key industries including tourism, research and technology.
Over the years, bats have inspired advances in technology, particularly related to echolocation and sonar. Research has also led to the development of Draculin, anticoagulant using bat saliva to help stroke victims.
Current research is being done on the bat's wing structure in order to identify ways to increase the maneuverability of airplanes.
Threats To Bats Bats are under threat from a variety of sources, many human-driven. The biggest threat currently is a disease that is spreading across the country called White-nose Syndrome (WNS). WNS was first found in New York in 2006 and has since spread to 26 states. This fungal infection is typically spread bat-to-bat where bats hibernate. This devastating disease has killed more than 6 million bats so far. Researchers are working around the clock to find a cure, yet to date there is no way to control it. Learn more about White Nose Syndrome by visiting: http://www.whitenosesyndrome.org.
Bats are also dying off from the effects of climate change, the loss of habitat and the increased use of pesticides. Bat conservationists are extremely concerned that these threats combined may lead to the species' extinction.
What You Can Do The problem facing bats is big, but all of us can, and should, take easy steps that will help protect these important animals:
Plant native, night-blooming plants and avoid using pesticides
Become involved in protection of local forests and wetlands
Avoid possible spread of WNS by humans
Stay out of caves and mines where bats are known or suspected to hibernate
Honor cave closures and gated caves
Stay out of caves when bats are hibernating
Invest in education and research The nonprofit Organization for Bat Conservation teaches people about the importance of bats and inspires people to become involved in conservation. Visit us online at www.batconservation.org.