Monday, March 28, 2011

News stories on endangered bats in the Southern Missouri Ozarks

Last month, I wrote about the bats in the Southern Missouri Ozarks that are endangered and live in caves in the region. They play a key role in the family story I tell in my upcoming second novel, "The Homeplace Revisited" coming our later this spring. The fictional story also has a wind power component.

Today, our local news source,, published a story related to these bats, and, in reviewing the story I found another story, from last year, that explains the bat situation in the area of my fictional story even further. I just had to share both stories with you. I hope you find them of interest. ...and, that you follow my blog here and read the novel, when it is released in a couple of months.  WLS

From Ozarks First. com, March 28, 2011:

(Springfield, MO) - At least eight students have a guaranteed summer study. A biology professor at Missouri State University was awarded two grants to study risks to endangered bats. West Inc. gave the grants totaling $116,000.

The money will be used to find potential risk factors to endangered bats from the operation of wind energy facilities in northern Missouri. Most of the students will be graduates working on various bat research projects dealing with conservation of bats.

While looking back to find this article, I also came across the following from last year, that is relevant, as well:

From May, 2010, on Ozarks

Bat Disease Reaches Ozarks Caves

(paraphrased early part of report)
All caves at Ozark National Scenic Riverways in Shannon County have been closed. Bat researchers from Missouri State University found an infectious fungus in five gray bats. That fungus causes White-Nose Syndrome (WNS). WNS is considered a serious disease that has been responsible for the deaths of more than one million bats since its discovery in New York in 2006.

The first occurrence in Missouri, the twelfth state to document the disease, was discovered in Pike County in April. Six bat species were known to be vulnerable, but the recent find is the first known case in Shannon County, and the first case in the federallly endangered gray bat.

(it further said)
"Missouri is home to at least 12 species of bats," explained Missouri Department of Conservation Cave Biologist Bill Elliott. "They are our front-line defense against many insect pests including some moths, certain beetles and mosquitoes. Insect pests can cause extensive forest and agricultural damage. Missouri's 775,000 gray bats alone eat more than 223 billion bugs a year, or about 540 tons. They also play a vital role in cave ecosystems, providing nutrients for other cave life through their droppings, or guano, and are food for other animals such as snakes and owls."

"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill ;-)