On the Radio: Iowa bat population at risk


Photo by Sergi Forns, Flickr

Check out this week’s radio segment here.  It discusses a disease called white-nose syndrome that is harming bats across the U.S. and is headed toward Iowa.

Bats are dying off at an alarming rate around North America from a fungus that may soon reach Iowa’s caves.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Since the discovery in 2006, a fungal infection known as white-nose syndrome has swept through much of the East coast, killing more than a million bats. Current projections of the fungus’s spread show that it’s likely to reach Iowa’s bat caves in the near future.

It’s believed that humans may spread the fungus. Therefore, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is recommending that people stay out of caves where bats hibernate.

As a result, the Department of Natural Resources has closed all state owned caves, including Maquoketa Caves State Park, in order to help slow its spread.

This is bad news for more than just animal lovers. Bats act as great natural insect removers and supply nutrient rich fertilizer. We need bats more than they need us.

For more information, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

I’m Jerry Schnoor from the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research.

Thank You.

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