– Worldwide, there are more than 1,300 species of bats, which make up almost 20 percent of all mammal species.
– Insectivorous bats likely save the United States agricultural industry at least $3 billion dollars each year on pest control or approximately $74 per acre for the average farmer.
– Beyond pest control, bats are valuable pollinators and seed dispersers. Some bats pollinate flowering plants, ensuring the production of fruits that support local economies, as well as diverse wildlife populations. Lack of pollination and seed dispersal could adversely affect food security.
– Bats are exceptionally vulnerable to extinction, in part because they are among the slowest reproducing mammals on Earth for their size. Most bat species only give birth to one pup.
– A big threat to bats is White-nose Syndrome (WNS), which has killed millions of bats since it was discovered in 2007, decimating populations. WNS is a fungal disease that invades the skin of hibernating bats and disrupts both their hibernation cycles and their hydration. The fungus is transmitted primarily from bat to bat.
– Today, WNS is found in 31 US states and 5 Canadian provinces. Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus that causes WNS, has been found in 33 US states.