Scientists wants bats threatened by disease declared endangered

May 24, 2013 at 8:39 PM
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HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, May 24 (UPI) -- A Canadian researcher says he can't understand why the Canadian government has not declared bats, plagued by a decimating disease, an endangered species.

Mark Elderkin, an endangered species biologist for the wildlife division of the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, said researchers believe bats all over eastern North America are facing a real possibility of extinction as a result of the fungal disease known as white nose syndrome.

An estimated 90 per cent of little brown bats, northern long-eared bats and tri-colored bats in Nova Scotia could be wiped out by the disease that causes them to wake early from hibernation, after which they can die from dehydration, starvation and exposure, he said.

"Those three species have had enormous, unprecedented decline," Elderkin told Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News.

He says he wants the federal government to give bats endangered species status, which would facilitate more research to combat the killer disease as it moves towards bats in the west and to the north.

Elderkin said he is frustrated because the endangered species application appears to be stalled at the Environment Canada offices, and he fears the worst.

"Maybe the best we are going to be is documentarians of one of the most horrific events in terms of mammalian ecological history," he said.

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