Lautenberg, Leahy, Sanders: Save the bats!

On Tuesday, Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) co-sponsored the Wildlife Disease Emergency Act, legislation that would provide a fund within the Interior Department to respond to epidemics that affect wildlife. At the top of their list? White-nose syndrome, which affects bats. 

Leahy has long had an association with bats. He appeared in cameo roles in the 1997 film “Batman and Robin” and the 2008 hit “The Dark Knight.”

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In a statement, Lautenberg said, “Bats play a vital role in our ecosystem by preying on insects that destroy crops and carry disease. There is an urgent need to research this problem so that bat populations in New Jersey and throughout the country are not decimated. Without a quick response, white-nose syndrome could have a ripple effect that hurts the economy, environment and public health.” 

For those unfamiliar with bat diseases, white-nose syndrome is named for a fungus that grows on bats’ noses and fatally spreads to the rest of their bodies.