Just what does dirty politics have to do with Wisconsin’s bats & wolves?  Ask Senator Ron Johnson (R) why he wants Wisconsin’s Northern Long-eared Bat & the wolf kept off of the Endandaged Species Lists. You’ll find the answer to that question buried deep within political agendas fueled by special interest’s money. It’s all tied to where the wolf and Northern Long-Eared bat live and the protections under the Endangered Species Act. 

The fate of bats and wolves 

Recent news in Wisconsin has Senator Ron Johnson (R) introduced an amendment that would remove wolves from federal Endangered Species Act protections in four states and no judicial review.  

This rider also contained an amendment submitted by Senator Ron Johnson as follows:

  “…submitted an amendment intended to be proposed to amendment SA 2953 proposed by Ms. Murkowski to the bill S. 2012, to provide for the modernization of the energy policy of the United States, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as following: Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service shall not list the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).” Source

The ESA was designed to protect species and the ecosystems on which they depend 

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) was signed on December 28, 1973, and provides for the conservation of species that are endangered or threatened throughout all or a significant portion of their range, and the conservation of the ecosystems on which they depend.” 

  
Northern Long-eared Bat Listed as Threatened  by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service according to a press release issued on January 13, 2016. 

This action to protect the Northern Long-Eared Bat is due to a disease called White-Nose Syndrome  that has killed millions of north America’s bats since 2006.   

According to U.S. fish & Wildlife Service the reason these bats need ESA protections is: “Unfortunately, this particular bat is one of the species hardest hit by the disease, white-nose syndrome. In forests of the Northeast, population declines have been dramatic in a very short time. Declines of up to 99 percent have been documented through hibernacula surveys and substantiated by summer surveys.”  Source

 

Northern long-eared bat with symptoms of white-nose syndrome. Photo by Steve Taylor; University of Illinois
 

What is White-Nose Syndrome?
“White-nose Syndrome (WNS) is a fungal disease that has killed millions of bats in North America. The disease is caused by a fungus from Eurasia, which was accidentally transported here by humans.” Cited from: Bat Conservation International

About the Northern Long-Eared Bat 

“Northern Long-Eared Bat, Myotis septentrionalis, The northern long-eared bat is federally listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Endangered species are animals and plants that are in danger of becoming extinct. Threatened species are animals and plants that are likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future. Identifying, protecting, and restoring endangered and threatened species is the primary objective of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species program.” Cited from: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Northern Long-eared bats summer in forests living under the bark of trees, and hibernate in caves during winter. Bats are essential for keeping disease ridden insects such as, the mosquito that carries the West Nile Virus in check. The Norther Long-Eared Bat eats moths, flies, leafhoppers, caddisflies, and beetles, which they catch while in flight using echolocation or by gleaning motionless insects from vegetation according to the the U.S. Fish & Wildlife FAQS on Northern Long-Eared Bats.

Wolves like the Northern Long-Eared Bat are essential for the health of our ecosystems 

When wolves were re-introduced into Yellowstone National Park after an absence of nearly 70 years the most remarkable “trophic cascade” occurred. Watch the following video ‘How Wolves Change Rivers’ 


Wolves, bats and dirty politics 

The ESA protects the threatened or endangered species, and the ecosystems on which they depend. So why do politicians, like Senator Ron Johnson (WI-R) want to keep the Northern Long-Eared Bat from being listed as endangered and the wolf delisted from the ESA? 

The answer to that question lies deep within the motives of mineral, lumber, oil & gas and Big Agriculture companies that want this critical habitat for their own special interests. Are these companies lobbying politicians like, Senator Ron Johnson to keep the wolf & the Northern Long-Eared Bat off the ESA?  Shall we allow dirty politics to throw critically endangered species under the bus and undermine decades of environmental progress made under the ESA?  

Senator Ron Johnson (WI-R) is up for re-election this November. Check his record HERE.

We can’t leave people in abject poverty, so we need to raise the standard of living for 80% of the world’s people, while bringing it down considerably for the 20% who are destroying our natural resources.  ~Jane Goodall

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Featured image by John E Marriott Photography