Things are not looking good for Michigan’s bats.
As Michigan Radio's Rebecca Williams reported earlier this week, bats infected with the deadly white-nose syndrome have been found in Michigan.
The disease, which has killed more than six million bats in North America since 2006, wakes up bats during hibernation once a week – twice the normal amount of hibernation disturbance.
According to Allen Kurta, a biology professor at Eastern Michigan University, when the fungus keeps the bats waking up, they use up their stored fat too quickly:
“So, by arousing much more frequently, they’re using up their fat much more frequently; they are then running out of that fat come February and March, and essentially they will die of starvation because there are no flying insects out there to give them food.”
And in short, the spread of the disease is threatening the livelihood of the state's bats.
“I think that this is one of the worst wildlife calamities ever in the history of North America,” said Kurta. “You’re looking at potential extinction of multiple species of bats.”
Luckily, there are a few things we can do to help out the little guys.