The lesser long-nosed bat is one of six endangered bat species living in the continental United States (photo by Merlin Tuttle). Some plants depend almost entirely on this animal for pollination, making it a crucial player in many ecosystems. Unfortunately, many other bats are also at risk. In addition to those already listed as endangered, the US Fish and Wildlife Service considers at least 20 more species to be of special concern and likely in need of increased protection in the near future. Loss of habitat and other human causes are perhaps this creature's biggest threat, and some wind farms may be contributing to the problem.
The Endangered Species Act is our country's most important tool to preserve species on the brink of extinction, including these bats. For over 30 years, the landmark law has sheltered endangered or threatened animals and their habitats from profit-driven developers and corporations. However, this may change. A measure passed in the House of Representatives aims to strip the original Act of important protections.
Photo by Merlin Tuttle