Friday, Sep 9, 2011
On the last Saturday in August, the park celebrated Bat Night. This year has been designated as the International Year of the Bat, and August 27th was designated as International Bat Night.
“Bat Night – and day – is set aside to recognize the importance of bats to our natural and man-made world,” said Superintendent Patrick Reed. “Eight species frequent park caves, and we have five other species that roost in trees. In total, there are 1,200 species of bats worldwide, accounting for one quarter of all mammal species.”
During the day on Saturday, posters describing bat-related research happening at Mammoth Cave National Park were on display, along with other information on bats. At dusk, when the bats woke up and began flying, visitors were able to watch them at park monitoring stations with night-vision goggles and equipment.
The park also shared information about white-nose syndrome, a fungus that kills cave-dwelling bats. It was first found in a New York cave in 2006 and has since spread to caves and mines across the eastern states. White-nose syndrome has not been found at Mammoth Cave, but it has been found in a cave in western Kentucky and caves or mines in most adjacent states.
Dr. Merlin Tuttle of Bat Conservation International of Austin, Texas, was the honorary ambassador for the International Year of the Bat.
“Simply because they are active only at night and difficult to observe and understand, bats rank among our planet’s most misunderstood and intensely persecuted mammals,” said Tuttle. “Those that eat insects are primary predators of the vast numbers that fly at night, including ones that cost farmers and foresters billions of dollars in losses annually. As such bats decline, demands for dangerous pesticides grow, as does the cost of growing crops like rice, corn and cotton.”
For more information on the International Year of the Bat, click on the link below.