With so many Indiana bats dying from white-nose syndrome, it’s imperative that other threats to the species are minimized — and the Center has been instrumental in the substantial progress recently made on this issue. More than a year after the January 2008 request to protect bats by closing caves and other hibernacula, the Forest Service closed to the public all caves and abandoned mines in 33 eastern and southern states to help stop the spread of white-nose syndrome. In 2009, after people joined with allies to file a protest against a plan to auction off oil and gas leases in a portion of West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest — just a few miles away from a major hibernating site for Virginia big-eared and Indiana bats — the Bureau withdrew the area from the lease sale. In May of 2009, we joined 60 allies in writing a letter to members of Congress requesting more funds be allocated to fighting white-nose syndrome, which currently constitutes the most serious threat to this species.