October 30, 2015

Saving bats

The Bat Scientists
by Mary Kay Carson
photographs by Tom Uhlman

Dr. Merlin Tuttle, the founder of Bat Conservation International, has dedicated his life to saving this misunderstood mammal. Bats are often thought to be disease-carrying, scary creatures that get into your hair and suck your blood. In reality, most bats do not have rabies, fly too well to ever get close to humans, and use their tongues to lap up blood (which they usually take from animals like cattle). Bats actually play an important role in controlling insects, pollinating plants, and regrowing forests. 

The many photographs of bats flying, roosting, or being held are fascinating, revealing an animal that actually looks rather cute. Meanwhile the work of Tuttle and his fellow scientists is engagingly told. Bats are threatened not only by the mysterious White-nose syndrome, but by human encroachment, wind turbines, and loss of natural roosts. The work of bat scientists mean better understanding of bats and ways to save them by gating caves, building roosts, and turning abandoned mines into bat sanctuaries.

Readers of this book will come away with an appreciation of bats and a drive to ensure their survival. Highly recommended.

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