The bats of New River Gorge National River play a very important part in maintaining a healthy ecosystem as well as providing many benefits to humans. The New River Gorge area has been set aside to provide safe habitats for these creatures of the night as well as many other plants and animals. Bats are a very important and necessary component in the balance of the ecosystem, which is vital to us as humans.
The National Park Service has released Bats in Crisis,three videos about white-nose syndrome, a disease that is decimating bat populations across eastern North America. The disease has been found in 10 national parks, including New River Gorge National River.
"White-nose syndrome is killing hibernating bats at unprecedented rates and has the potential to cause extinction in some species," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "Each bat can eat thousands of insects each night so their loss would be a blow to ecosystem conservation and the agriculture industry that relies on the natural pest control and pollination services bats provide. We need the public's help to limit the spread of this disease so we are asking visitors to take a look at these videos and understand what steps they can take when touring or exploring caves."
The Bats in Crisis videos feature National Park Service scientists, technicians, and educators and are online at http://www.nature.nps.gov/multimedia/wns01/.
Join us for a Bat Chat! In summer months, park rangers lead monthly Bat Chats at the Grandview bat condo; a program that teaches visitors about bats and provides an opportunity to watch the bats emerge from the bat condo for their nightly forage. Check out Ranger Programs page for a schedule.
Did You Know?
The New River Gorge was logged extensively thoughout the past century. The landscape is now recovering, with the park ecosystem returning to its more natural state, but there are still plenty of signs of the past activities.