Our children are less likely to see monarch butterflies, bumble bees, and a host of other once-common wildlife species due to farm pesticides, declining ocean health, climate change, and dirty energy production, according to a new report by the Endangered Species Coalition. The report, Vanishing: Ten American Species Our Children May Never See, highlights ten disappearing species and the causes of their dramatic population declines.
“This report calls attention to the fact that species are vanishing before our eyes,” said Cathy Liss, president of the Animal Welfare Institute, which nominated the little brown bat in partnership with Bat Conservation International and the Center for Biological Diversity. “By including this often-overlooked bat species, which despite its small size is of enormous ecological (and economic) value, the Endangered Species Coalition is building much-needed awareness that this animal is in grave danger of extinction.”
Little brown bats are in peril due to white-nose syndrome, a deadly fungus that has been decimating bat populations since it was first discovered in the United States in 2006. These bats, once common in North America, are now virtually extinct in their core Northeast range; up to 99 percent have died in affected areas. Weakened immune systems due to pesticide exposure and human disturbance in their caves are also factors in their demise.
As primary predators of night-flying insects that prey on agricultural crops, bats rank among humanity’s most valuable allies. An estimated 694 tons of insects—55.5 school buses’ worth—are alive today because bats have died of white-nosed syndrome. The report encourages people to build and install bat houses to help promote a healthy environment and provide shelter for this species in desperate need of safe habitats.
In addition to the little brown bat, the report features the mountain yellow-legged frog, monarch butterfly, North Pacific right whale, great white shark, rusty-patched bumblebee, greater sage-grouse, polar bear, Snake River sockeye salmon, and one plant species—the whitebark pine. All of the species chosen were nominated by Endangered Species Coalition member groups from across the country and reviewed by a committee of distinguished scientists for inclusion.
“With each passing day, our children are less and less likely to experience the full beauty of nature and see the kind of wildlife that baby boomers, Gen Xers, and even millennials experienced,” said Leda Huta, executive director of the Endangered Species Coalition. “We owe it to our future generations of Americans to protect our vanishing wildlife and the special places they call home.”
To learn more about the little brown bat and the other endangered species highlighted in the report, visit www.vanishingwildlife.org.