Meet Jasper, the most adorable creature you’ll come across all day – maybe all week … maybe even all year. He’s an orphaned flying-fox, who has been rescued by Nightwings Rainforest Centre and is ready to be released! However, once he hits the night sky, life might not be so easy for him.
Due to habitat loss, human conflict, pesticide use, and the disease White-Nose Syndrome, bat populations are becoming increasingly endangered, so we need to do all we can to protect this species. I mean, come on, just look into Jasper’s eyes!
But cuteness is not the only reason we need to fight for Jasper. Bats also provide essential services to humans. Their pollination makes many of the foods we enjoy possible. Nectar-eating bats are crucial pollinators, pollinating over 500 plant species including dates, avocados, and mangoes.
Hate pesticides? Well, because of bats’ hard work, farmers are able to lessen their use of chemical pesticides, as they’ve got nature’s expert pest controller! Insectivorous bats, which make up 70 percent of bat species, perform pest control services by consuming millions of insects each year. However, because pesticide use is still rampant, bats end up consuming them little by little. Over time, the toxicity of these chemicals builds up in bats’ bodies and can eventually reach levels that kill these small mammals. Throw in habitat loss and the odds are not looking too good for bats’ survival.
And while bats have often gotten a bad rap as being scary or spooky, this photo of Jasper proves that they are anything but. In fact, the world might look a lot scarier for us if we fail to protect the bats – not only for our stomachs and health but our wallets too: The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that bat contributions to pest management save the United States at least $3.7 billion dollars per year.
Thankfully, people around the world are starting to recognize why it’s absolutely crucial that we work to protect bats. Take, for example, the team at Nightwings Rainforest Centre, who is raising money so they can plant 70,000 rainforest trees over the next six years to create an ecosystem in which bats and other endangered animals can thrive. According to Nightwings Rainforest Centre’s website, the 37-acre forest will also “encompass a small area for low impact, ecologically sustainable Visitor, Education and Interpretive Centre, and Bat Hospital.”
Jasper made an adorable appeal on Facebook “saying” : “Once we take to the night sky, our needs are simple. We do not need hair driers, chai lattes, or shares in microsoft, we simply need trees to live and feed in. Every $10 you donate will plant and maintain a rainforest tree; creating just over one square metre of valuable new rainforest. Your gift will last beyond a lifetime; with each tree providing rainforest fruit in as little as 12 months, and in many cases, keep providing food, year after year, for hundreds of years. Please help secure our safety and future. We thank you.”
Consider making a donation by visiting their fundraising page and you can play a role in giving bats the ecosystem they so desperately need! Jasper and his friends might need us right now, but we would be kidding ourselves if we didn’t also acknowledge the fact that we need them much, much more.
All Image Source: Nightwings Rainforest Centre/Facebook