Bat-killing fungus spreads to Texas – Summit County Citizens Voice

GR: This is sad news for our flying furry friends. The lethal fungus is spreading west across North America. It hasn’t been found in Arizona yet, but we have some of the susceptible species.

“A fungal pathogen that has wiped out bat populations across the eastern third of the U.S. has now been found in Texas, according to state wildlife officials, who documented the fungus for the first time on two new bat species: the cave myotis and a western subspecies of Townsend’s big-eared bat.

“White-nose fungus first emerged in 2006 in New York and his since spread into 30 states and killed at least 5.5 million bats. Wildlife conservation advocates said the recent announcement from is a biological disaster, considering the potential risks to huge, world-famous bat colonies that thrive in unique cave ecosystems in the state.” –Summit County Citizens Voice (Continue reading: Bat-killing fungus spreads to Texas – Summit County Citizens Voice.)

Endangered Indiana bats face twin threat from wind turbines and white-nose syndrome

GR:  Energy production destroys wildlife. Burning fossil fuel is has the worst impact, but wind and solar are also harmful. Unless we reverse our population growth, cut our resource use, and reduce our energy needs, we will continue to drive our fellow species toward extinction.

Small hibernating bat colonies need protection
to prevent extinction

“Between collisions with wind turbines and deadly white-nose syndrome, endangered Indiana bats may not have much of a chance of recovering, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study.

“The researchers used a scientific model to compare how wind turbine mortality and WNS may singly and then together affect Indiana bat population dynamics throughout the species’ U.S. range.

“Bats are valuable because, by eating insects, they save U.S. agriculture billions of dollars per year in pest control,” said USGS scientist Richard Erickson, the lead author of the study. “Our research is important for understanding the threats to endangered Indiana bats and can help inform conservation efforts.”

“Wind energy generation can cause bat mortality when certain species, including the midwestern Indiana bat, approach turbines during migration. Meanwhile, WNS, which is caused by the Pseudogymnoascus destructans fungus, has killed millions of hibernating bats in North America and is spreading. The new study found that the combination of these two hazards has a larger negative impact on Indiana bats than either threat alone.” –Bob Berwin (Continue reading:  Endangered Indiana bats face twin threat from wind turbines and white-nose syndrome – Summit County Citizens Voice.)

Arizona Wildlife Notebook Revised – #Wildlife, #Arizona, #Conservation

Arizona Wildlife Notebook

A new edition of the “Arizona Wildlife Notebook” is available.

In the year, 2015, lethal heat waves and storms made it clear that humanity was changing the Earth.  Anyone who paid attention to the news knew that Earth’s animals and plants were disappearing.

Animal Declines

This figure from the review by the World Wildlife Fund (2014) shows that, from 1970 to 2010, Earth’s animals declined by 52%.

I have come to believe that nature conservation is the great challenge of our time. Human beings are imposing a mass extinction that will eliminate almost all animals on Earth. We may not be able to stop this, but I believe that the Notebook will be useful for anyone who hasn’t given up and wishes to work to protect Earth’s creatures.

Arizona Species Conservation Status

For this edition of the Notebook, I added more information on conservation.  The table below shows group status for species that AZGFD specialists consider critically imperiled (S1), imperiled (S2), and vulnerable (S3).  It also shows group status according to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for Threatened (LT) and Endangered (LE) species.  I didn’t include butterflies, moths, damselflies, and dragonflies in this table because the status of most species in those groups is unknown.

Many species that the AZGFD says are critically imperiled are not given national recognition and protection by the U. S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).  It seems that only after species are mostly gone that protection becomes available.  Thus, the ESA achieves very little overall protection from biodiversity loss.

ARIZONA WILDLIFE CONSERVATION STATUS

Species Group

Total  minus

Exotic & Extinct

AZGFD

S1+S2+S3

ESA

LT+LE

Amphibians

31

18 (58%)

2

Birds

451

260 (58%)

9

Fish

40

40 (100%)

13

Lizards

67

27 (40%)

0

Mammals

189

64 (34%)

15

Snakes

76

35 (46%)

1

Turtles

10

6 (67%)

2

TOTAL

864

450 (52%)

42

The third column shows how many species AZGFD considers at risk.  For instance, all native Arizona fish species are at risk, and about one-third of native Arizona mammals are at risk.  Being “at risk” usually means that numbers are dropping.  The principal causes are construction of buildings and roads, and invasive plants and animals.

Click–Arizona Wildlife Notebook–for a free copy of the 168-page book formatted as a PDF “fillable form.” If you like the book, tell others. Write a review for Amazon: http://mybook.to/AZWildlifeNotebook , or Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1Mkgmei.  If you would like to review a printed copy of the book, send a note using the form below.  Thank you.

Now that you’ve downloaded the book, you have a conversation-starter for tonight’s warm-up party for World Animal Day!

Long-eared Bat: Fish and Wildlife Service Bows to Pressure From Industry, Politicians

Press Release from the Center for Biological Diversity

Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Weakened Protections for Vanishing Bat:  Feds Bow to Pressure From Industry, Politicians

long-eared-bat-flying“After pressure from industries and politicians critical of the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today issued an alternate proposal to protect the northern long-eared bat only as “threatened” rather than “endangered” and included a special rule that would continue to allow many activities that harm the bat, including logging. The less-protective proposal comes despite the fact that the bat, which has been decimated by the fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome, has already declined by up to 99 percent in the Northeast.

“Today politics won out over science and law,” said Mollie Matteson, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “This is an especially dark day in the sad saga of the northern long-eared bat, because this species needs as much help as possible right now, and instead the government has decided to put the wishes of industry before the needs of a vanishing animal.

“With its latest proposal to downgrade the listing status of the northern long-eared bat from endangered to threatened, and allow exemptions for activities that might result in harm to the bat, the Fish and Wildlife Service has retreated dramatically from its original recommendation. Listing decisions under the Endangered Species Act are supposed to be based strictly on the best available science, and not on economic, political or other factors. Underscoring this, in November more than 80 bat scientists sent a letter to Fish and Wildlife director Dan Ashe, urging him to follow through with his agency’s recommendation to list the species as endangered.  A final decision from the agency is due on April 2.” (read more).