Day 46: Lighting The Bat Signal

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February 15, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra

I don’t know what Bruce Wayne’s problem is, but bats aren’t all that scary.  I had a close encounter with one very frightened flying furball yesterday, trying to coax the little guy back out into the open after having wandered into the atrium of a building on campus.  It took some patience, but back into the wild he went, presumably no worse for wear.  I’m glad of that, because bats, beyond not being frightening, are really rather important.  Why?  Because mosquitoes suck and plant biodiversity rocks.  Bats are responsible for eating an absolutely fantastic amount of insects (who are far better at transmitting diseases than bats are), as well as playing a role in the pollination and spread of numerous plants.

Bats, though, are in danger of more than costumed villains.  Today’s project will tell you more:

Since 2006, over 5.7 million bats have been infected and died from White Nose Syndrome. Species once common, such as the little brown bat, are now quickly approaching endangered status.

My film will follow me as I investigate White Nose Syndrome: from the caves in New York where the disease was first documented, to Tennessee where individuals are racing to stop the spread to gray eared bats. I envision this film to educate others on the dire implications of White Nose Syndrome and the vital importance of a healthy bat population. I believe if more people are aware of the disappearing bat population, we might be able to stop the epidemic before our night skies are empty.

Katie Jepson loves bats, and it’s not so hard to see why.  She’s embarking on a journey to the center of the White Nose Syndrome epidemic in hopes of shedding light on the disease and its effect on all of us.  Considering the value of bats to the ecosystem, there’s good reason for us to pay attention to this otherwise-unappreciated critter of the night.

Be part of the story, and maybe part of the solution, by backing the film that Katie is producing on Kickstarter before March 4.


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