URBANA, Ill. — Bats come out of the shadows during Bat Week, Oct. 24-31, an international awareness campaign that aims to educate the public about bat conservation in the week leading up to Halloween. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign bat expert Joy O’Keefe explains the threats to bats and how we can help.
On environmental threats to bats:
“Habitat loss is a big problem for bats. Most bats in the U.S. depend on forests for some portion of their lifecycle, as forests provide crucial foraging and roosting habitat. So, the loss of forests is a challenge bats have been contending with for a long time,” said O’Keefe, assistant professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and Illinois Extension, part of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at U. of I.
O’Keefe also mentioned losses of migratory bats (and birds) due to wind turbines; declining insect populations that make up the diets of most North American bats; severe weather effects on bats due to climate change; and, of course, the devastating impacts of white-nose syndrome.
Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.