Michael Durham, Bat Conservation International

  Bats have a bit of an image problem. You probably saw some Halloween decorations this week featuring flying, fanged creatures of the night. But conservationists say bats are actually very helpful animals, saving farmers in the Ohio Valley region alone hundreds of millions of dollars simply by eating harmful insects.

  Now bats need some humans to return the favor and help to halt the spread of a deadly disease.

United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

Owners of a one-time silica mine in southern Illinois are donating the property to a Michigan-based group that works to help the endangered Indiana bat. 

Ryan von Linden / New York Department of Environmental Conservation

This is a story about a virus that infects a fungus.

The fungus causes white-nose syndrome — a disease that’s affecting bats in 29 states, including Kentucky. Bats with white-nose syndrome act strangely; they often lose the fat reserves that are necessary to survive the hibernating winter months, then leave caves in the winter and die.

Matt Markgraf / WKMS

Since its discovery in a population of bats in a New York cave in 2007, white nose syndrome has become one of the gravest threats to American and Canadian bats.  White nose is a fungal infection that disrupts the bat’s hibernation cycle and has resulted in the death of approximately 6 million bats in North America.  Kentucky has not escaped the infection’s spread; it first appeared in the Commonwealth in 2011 and has been detected in bats in western Kentucky’s Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.

Sarah Zukoff / Flickr (Creative Commons License)

A study out of Southern Illinois University Carbondale suggests that bats save farmers across the globe from the loss of $1 billion a year in crop damages.


USFWSmidwest, Flickr Commons, Creative Commons License

"The reason bats are important is because they're the night shift on insect patrol," says energy journalist Nancy Grant. She recently wrote an article for Kentucky Living's "On The Grid" section titled, "Bats For Trees," in which she explains why the health of the little animal has an impact on electricity. On Sounds Good, Kate Lochte speaks with Grant about the complicated issue involving two conflicting government agencies and efforts to maintain populations of the Northern long-eared bat alive, which has been plagued by white-nose syndrome.

Girl Scout Troop: Help Save the Bats!

Jun 26, 2015

A local Girl Scouts Troop is hoping to make a difference when it comes to protect one of Murray's more vulnerable nocturnal residents -- the bats. 

Kate Lochte sat down to talk with Junior Girl Scout Troop 1154 leader Jennifer Bryson and scout Alyssa during WKMS's Sounds Good about their Facebook page and community project to "Help Save the Bats." 

Ryan von Linden / New York Department of Environmental Conservation

A disease that has already ravaged parts of the North American bat population has been discovered in another southern Kentucky cave. Researchers found bats with White Nose Syndrome in a dozen tri-colored bats living in the WKU-owned Crumps Cave in Warren County.

The bat disease known as white-nose syndrome has been spreading fast, killing millions of animals. But for the first time, scientists are seeing hopeful signs that some bat colonies are recovering and new breakthroughs could help researchers develop better strategies for helping bats survive.

Matt Reinbold, Flickr Commons, Wikimedia Commons

LBL Woodlands Nature Station hosts a whole day of educational, family friendly programs with cool and crawly critters including snakes, bugs, bats and turtles this Saturday. We learn more with Aviva Yasgur on Sounds Good about this opportunity to teach all ages about lesser known and often under-appreciated creatures. Hear the conversation: