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The Endangered Species Act turns 40

exctinct forever
The Endangered gray bat.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the United States’ Endangered Species Act. Signed into law by President Richard Nixon, the Endangered Species Act of 1973 protects imperiled animal and plant species from extinction by preserving critical habitat and providing programs for their recovery. But there is still much more work to be done.

Among the 47 species of bats that inhabit the United States and Canada, four species and three subspecies are listed as Endangered, and three more species are being considered for listing because of the devastation wrought by White-nose Syndrome.
But bat conservation is not just an issue in the United States. The threats to bats are many and worldwide: from ignorance and fear to habitat loss, human disturbance and, in some countries, unsustainable hunting. Bats clearly have the odds stacked against them.

Now the wildlife disease called White-nose Syndrome is decimating bat populations across eastern North America, with fatalities numbering in the millions. And wind-energy turbines are also killing tens of thousands of bats each year.
In some parts of the world, bats have gone extinct before they could even be declared endangered – like the tragic Christmas Island pipistrelle in Australia whose last echolocation call was recorded on August 26, 2009.

Celebrate the anniversary of this invaluable legislation by helping Bat Conservation International protect bats and their habitats around the world – before it’s too late.

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Last Updated: Wednesday, 08 May 2013
Unless otherwise noted, all images are copyright ©Merlin D. Tuttle and/or ©Bat Conservation International