CLEVELAND — Holy Bat Week Batman! Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is proclaiming Oct. 24-31 as Bat Week to raise awareness about the need for bat conservation.
The bat populations in Ohio are declining because of a combination of threats from disease, land development and contamination from pesticides.
There are at least 10 species commonly found in Ohio. Two species, Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats, are federally listed as endangered. The remaining are protected under state law.
“Bats contribute substantially to our economy by protecting our forests and agriculture from crop-damaging insects and pests,” said Mary Mertz, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) in a news release. “It is critical that we continue efforts to promote the health of bat populations here in Ohio and across the nation.”
If bats continue to decline, studies show that it could cost the nation's agricultural industry more than $2.7 billion per year because of pest-control benefits they provide.
“Bats are amazing creatures that are vital to the health of our natural world and economy,” said ODNR Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “The recent decline of many species of bat populations due to White-nose Syndrome and other factors highlight the need for public and private partnerships to work together to restore bat populations.”
ODNR is encouraging the public to get involved by helping build artificial bat roots, plant native vegetation to attract insect prey and educating people the importance of bats.
For more information on bats and how to help with bat conservation, visit Bat Week.