Moody Gardens is Going a Little Batty
Feb. 11 Event to Help Bat Conservation in Texas
Last week's email tip focused on helping to "Save The Songbirds." The day after that message went out, I got a little reminder from my friends at Moody Gardens in Galveston that this is also the "Year of the Bat."
Moody Gardens is doing everything possible in 2012 to help focus global attention on this endangered species. They will have opportunities for the public to get involved in helping these often overlooked animals that play an important role in our environment.
The United Nations has also declared 2012 as International Year of the Bat, and Bat Conservation International (BCI) is a partner in the observance.
What would the world be like without bats? We could find out sooner than we think. BCI statistics show more than 50 percent of American bat species are in severe decline or are already listed as endangered. Losses are occurring at alarming rates worldwide. They are also the slowest reproducing mammals on earth for their size, most producing only one pup annually.
Bats are more essential than you may realize. They help maintain healthy ecosystems and economies. They consume huge quantities of crop-destroying agricultural pests, disperse seeds to replenish rain forests, and pollinate countless plants. The loss of just a single species could have ramifications throughout the environment. Such a loss would increase the demand for chemical pesticides, jeopardizing whole ecosystems or other animal and plant species.
"These animals help maintain our ecosystem and are even important in large metropolitan areas such as Houston," said Moody Gardens Assistant Curator/Registrar Paula Kolvig. "Year of the Bat will give Moody Gardens the opportunity to highlight the importance of protecting these animals and will show visitors different conservation efforts they can do as well."
Bats need more help than ever. Since 2006, millions of hibernating bats have died from a disease known as white-nose syndrome (WNS), which is caused by a cold-loving white fungus typically found on the faces and wings of infected bats. WNS causes bats to awaken more often during hibernation and use up stored fat reserves that are needed to get them through the winter. Infected bats often emerge from hibernation too soon and are seen flying around in midwinter. These bats usually freeze or starve to death.
To aid in fundraising and awareness efforts, Moody Gardens will host "Bats Are Doin' It" on Feb. 11. This special event will feature guest speaker James Eggers, BCI director of education. For more information, see batcon.org/yotb or call Moody Gardens at 1-800-582-4673.
Randy Lemmon's GardenLine is heard 6-10 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays, exclusively on NewsRadio 740 KTRH.
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