Bat decline may pose threat to U.S. farming.
In a paper published in the journal Science, bat researchers estimated that a single colony of 150 brown bats in Indiana eat around 1.3 million pest insects a year and that the total value of such bats to U.S. agriculture may be around $22.9 billion a year.
They criticized a lack of funds and efforts to save the bats and to find out more about what is causing their widespread population decline. The current "wait-and-see" approach is unacceptable the magazine quoted the researchers as saying.
"Bats are among the most overlooked, yet economically important, non-domesticated animals in North America, and their conservation is important for the integrity of ecosystems and in the best interest of both national and international economies," the scientists, led by Justin Boyles of the University of Pretoria in South Africa, wrote in Science.