Group in Berks Promotes Efforts to Help Injured Bats | Regional News from Berks
MERTZTOWN, PA – A local nonprofit is doing its part to raise awareness and promote conservation efforts for perhaps one of the most misunderstood species on the planet.
“It’s a ashy bat. It’s the biggest bat here in Pennsylvania,” said Stephanie Stronsick, founder of Pennsylvania Bat Rescue, as she administered fluids to a bat that was was found to be severely dehydrated in Berks County.
Each year, the association’s volunteers help hundreds of bats.
“We will save, rehabilitate and release native bats to their natural habitat. You don’t think much of bats in the environment, but they are all around us,” Stronsick said. “We have a variety of permits. We also work with endangered bat species, which is a separate permit.”
In Pennsylvania, you could say that bats are nature’s pest control; they eat more insects than any other species.
“They are the only flying mammals in the world,” Stronsick said. “They have very small finger bones and can suffer a lot of different injuries.”
But there is a deadly new threat to bats. White-nose syndrome is a cold-growing fungus that was accidentally introduced from Europe to upstate New York in 2006. Bats in Pennsylvania are unable to trigger an immune response.
“It literally eats away at the membrane of their wings,” Stronsick explained.
She said if you find a bat on the ground, chances are it needs help.
“Very few bats found on the ground do not need help and just need to be placed in a tree, however, 99% of them need help, whether it is of dehydration, of an injury, of any injury. ” said Stronsick. “We have a lot of bats after storms because they have to come out to migrate and feed.”
Pennsylvania Bat Rescue is always looking for volunteers, especially to help transport bats. Things like gasoline gift cards and monetary donations are also helpful. Rescue also offers educational opportunities.
You can read more about Pennsylvania Bat Rescue on their website.