By Maximillian Boudreaux

On Thursday January 15th, 2015 I went on an exciting video shoot as well a new adventure to the Bat Zone, located behind the Cranbrook Institute of Science. It was at this shoot that I got to meet the real “Batman”:  Rob Mies, the Executive Director of the Organization for Bat Conservation.

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For the next two hours Rob took us on a guided tour of the various animals they house as the Bat Zone such as skunks, flying squirrels, a three-toed sloth, sugar gliders, squirrels and BATS!   There are over 150 bats from around the world such as big brown bats (which are actually rather small), dog-faced fruit bats, straw-colored fruit bats, endangered golden (also known as Rodrigues) flying foxes, Malayan flying foxes (the largest bats in the world with 6 foot wingspans), Egyptian fruit bats, short-tailed fruit bats, Jamaican fruit bats, Indian flying foxes, and vampire bats.

(credit: Organization for Bat Conservation)

(credit: Organization for Bat Conservation)

Rob explained how important bats are to our very own ecosystem. In Michigan bats eat a variety of bugs for farmers and humans and help cut back the need for using insecticides that can harm the environment.

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He told us about White-Nose Syndrome, a disease that is killing off the bat population, and the importance of the Save the Bat campaign.  As the interview begin to wrap up Rob said that one of the best ways to get involved is by simply building bat houses and placing them in your back yard.

Get more information about bats at batconservancy.org.

Leaving this experience gave me time to reflect on the notion that bats are often presented in the media as these scary animals who want to drink our blood for survival, but Rob enlightened me.  Bats are actually interesting, shy creatures that are also very important to our world-wide ecological system and when you look at them closely they resemble man best friend, a dog.

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Maximillian Boudreaux is a CW50 Intern currently studying for a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan. Maximillian is soldier in US Army National Guard. He aspires to become a morning news anchor and works for various media outlets such as the Michigan Daily and WOLV TV to gain insight into this fascinating industry.