A Plea

One of the recurring themes of #BatWeek is to be a #BatHero. I want to take a minute to talk to you all about that.

2020 has been an awful year in so many respects, but for us, while we, so far, have been lucky to not lose any people to COVID, we lost a year of bats.

You may not realize this, but COVID shut down bat rehabilitation for much of the country, and many of us are still not allowed to intake or release bats. We have been forced to tell people to let baby bats die, to arrange euthanasia for recoverable bats, and to let injured bats suffer on the landscape. Why? Because a disease is killing people.

I cannot describe the hurt and sorrow that each and every one of us goes through when we have to explain that there is nothing we can do for the baby bat, for the injured bat, for the lost bat in the wrong place. COVID is a death sentence for them, even though they don’t have COVID and it didn’t come from them.

There is some good evidence to suggest that this disease has some relation to bats in a faraway country, and it is remotely possible that North American bats could harbor a variant and give it back to people. But we desperately need good science to say whether that is or is not a possibility. But do you know what can’t happen in a crazy politically charged atmosphere? Good science!

Because bat biologists are a dedicated bunch, necessary science is happening, but because the studies are ongoing, none of the results are in the ‘published literature’, a process that can take years, and bats are suffering. Agencies are very conservative, and rather than using preliminary results to guide policy changes, they are waiting for published results. So we are looking at another year, maybe more, of lost bats.

But there is one thing you can do to help our bats right now. We MUST get the human transmission down. Agencies are on high alert because HUMAN cases are spiking, and that’s happening because PEOPLE won’t do the bare minimum to help control the spread. If human cases slowed down, we could start focusing on helping bats again.

So please, please do one thing to help the bats. Wear a mask! Bat heroes wear masks!

PS: To make it easy and to help you show your inner bat superhero, we have masks. They are high quality double layer masks with pockets for extra filtration and ties for a tight fit. Masks are custom made for us by the amazing Auntie MMs Custom Boutique from Save Lucy’s fabric stash. If you wear glasses, we have optional steel nose bands you can attach with a few stiches. Masks are $10.00 plus $2 for shipping and handling. E-mail savelucy@virginiabats.org with your style preference (purple bat & moon or gray multicolor). We’ll get back to you with PayPal info.

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