Money collected during the three-day event will go toward efforts to save the bat population from a cold-weather fungus that has killed a million bats since the winter of 2006.
White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) refers to the disease caused by the cold-weather fungus. According to a press release for Batstock, WNS grows on the nose and wings of infected bats and causes the bats to wake up numerous times during their hibernation. The awakened bats use up their stored fat reserves and die from starvation and exposure to the cold as they fly around in search of food.
D’Angeli said the fungus surfaced in the Northeast in late 2006 and was brought over from Europe.
“It may have come over on the clothing of a cave explorer who went into caves in Europe, got some of this fungus on his clothing, didn’t wash his clothes, and then came back to the U.S. and entered one of the caves here,” D’Angeli said.
D’Angeli said he’s hosted bat-related fundraisers before but nothing as large as Batstock. He said people should care about the diminishing bat population because the small mammals serve an important purpose.
“Anybody that went out on the Fourth of July and got eaten up by mosquitoes will know why bats are important. Each bat can eat 1,000 mosquitoes an hour,” D’Angeli said. “And we’ve lost 1 million bats. The disease has spread to about 19 states and four Canadian provinces.”
Building up the bat population will take time, said D’Angeli, because the animals only give birth to about one or two offspring a year.
Batstock kicks off at 7 p.m. tonight at The Wildlife Conservation Center in Ridgefield Park. For $5, visitors can meet the newest members of the center’s exotic family: three male Giant Indian Fruit bats named Grimace, Squatch and BoBo.
On Sunday, D’Angeli will present an interactive, live bat show followed by a nighttime outdoor bat walk at Flat Rock Brook Nature Center in Englewood. The presentation will run from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. and will cost $8.
For more information about Batstock, visit njbatman.com. All proceeds from the event will go toward WNS research, to local bat rehabbers and to bat conservation efforts.
Other events this weekend:
Friday, Aug. 26
- Caroline Jones, Three Random Words and Ana Popovic take the stage at Mexicali Live starting at 8 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here.
Saturday, Aug. 27
- Saturday Storytime at the Library begins at 11 a.m. at the Teaneck Public Library. Recommended for ages 3 and older.
- Batstock, a benefit to save the bats of the U.S., will feature bands, artists, vendors and more at Mexicali Live. Doors open at 6 p.m., and tickets can be purchased here.
- The Lion's Den Coffee House at St. Mark's Episcopal Church will host its monthly open-mike night from 7 to 10 p.m. People of all ages are welcome to this free event.
- The Waldwick School of Rock Summer Rock Camp will perform cover songs at 2:30 p.m. at Mexicali Live, with doors opening at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here. There also will be a School of Rock CD Release Show at 6 p.m., with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here.