Bats and White Nose Syndrome News
Could European bats help solve US bat mystery? - WCAX
[Tue Jan 10 18:30:09 EST 2012
Could European bats help solve US bat mystery?WCAXSo far, no one has come up with a way to treat the fungus without stressing the bats out too much," Bennett said. If scientists at the University of Winnipeg do conclude the fungus that causes white nose syndrome is invasive, it would mean scientists ...
How Much Is An Ecosystem Worth? In Dollars, More Than the Keystone XL Pipeline - PolicyMic
[Tue Jan 10 12:07:08 EST 2012
European bats could offer white nose solution - msnbc.com
[Sun Jan 08 12:38:54 EST 2012
European bats could offer white nose solutionmsnbc.comScientists trying to stem the spread of the bat-killing disease known as white nose syndrome say it has now been definitely proven that the fungus that causes the disease came from Europe and is the latest of a long line of invasive species disrupting ...and more »
Welcome to the Year of the Bat. - Real Aspen (blog)
[Sat Jan 07 09:07:51 EST 2012
Real Aspen (blog)
Welcome to the Year of the Bat.Real Aspen (blog)A major reason why is white-nose syndrome ? a mysterious disease that is wiping out bats by the millions. On New Year's Eve in New York City, a 15-second ad trumpeting 2012 as the International Year of the Bat flashed on the 20-foot-tall CBS JumboTron ...
TN bats are coveted for research - The Tennessean
[Mon Jan 02 03:14:40 EST 2012
New money available to fight bat threatening white-nose syndrome - Chattanooga Times Free Press
[Wed Dec 28 00:04:23 EST 2011
Small band of bats can beat plague - Albany Times Union
[Sat Dec 24 01:09:17 EST 2011
Small band of bats can beat plagueAlbany Times UnionBy BRIAN NEARING, Staff writer A group of hibernating bats show the distinctive fuzzy white fungal patches around their noses that indicates infection with White Nose Syndrome. New research shows that some bats can survive and reproduce after being ...and more »
White Nose Syndrome: Bat Die-Off Fought By Scientists - Huffington Post
[Tue Dec 20 19:15:59 EST 2011
Bats get a gift of hope this holiday season - Natural Resources Defense Council (blog)
[Tue Dec 20 12:05:26 EST 2011
Congress goes batty: Omnibus bill commits $4 million to combat white-nose syndrome - The Colorado Independent
[Mon Dec 19 06:27:06 EST 2011
Bats take a liking to Coastal Georgia - Savannah Morning News [Mon Aug 29 00:17:22 EDT 2011]
Friendly bats will be featured at local park program - Montgomery Newspapers [Wed Aug 10 13:56:14 EDT 2011]
Bats fall victim to wind turbines; bugs proliferate - ABC Action News [Mon Aug 01 11:33:54 EDT 2011]
Researchers Concerned After Bat Disease Spreads To NC - WSOC Charlotte [Mon Jul 25 18:03:49 EDT 2011]
Deadly bat disease suspected in Buncombe County - Mountain Xpress [Tue Jul 19 08:48:17 EDT 2011]
Experts worry bat killing fungus could reach Florida - 10 Connects [Tue Jul 19 01:24:55 EDT 2011]
Is the Long-Eared Bat Next on Endangered List? - Nebraska Farmer [Wed Jul 13 02:06:41 EDT 2011]
Two Bat Species May Be Protected By USFWS - Ashland Current [Sun Jul 03 05:00:53 EDT 2011]
Verner: Time for a 'save the bats' movement - Salisbury Post [Sun Jul 03 00:11:28 EDT 2011]
What is Killing the Bats? - Smithsonian [Thu Jun 23 14:15:25 EDT 2011]
State Park caves still closed due to bat disease - TriCities.com [Mon Jun 13 23:43:46 EDT 2011]
White nose syndrome to keep Tennessee caves closed in 2011 - Kingsport Times News [Sat Jun 11 18:55:31 EDT 2011]
Caves in Forbest State Forest to reopen for exploring - Farm and Dairy [Thu Jun 09 01:26:28 EDT 2011]
State of Tennessee extends Public Caves Closure into third year to protect ... - Clarksville Online [Fri Jun 03 11:12:41 EDT 2011]
Bat Disease, WNS, Confirmed in Maine: Not Harmful to Humans, but Deadly to Bats [Tue May 24 01:00:00 EDT 2011]
Media release from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Fungus strikes but doesn't kill European bats [Fri May 06 01:00:00 EDT 2011]
White-nose syndrome, a fungus spreading like wildfire through hibernating North American bats, has just been reported in 12 European countries. But unlike the American epidemic, which typically kills 75 percent or more of exposed bats, the European infection has not been associated with mortality.
White-nose Syndrome Confirmed In Kentucky Bat [Wed Apr 13 01:00:00 EDT 2011]
FRANKFORT, Ky. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) have detected the presence of white-nose syndrome in a bat residing in Trigg County, located in southwest Kentucky. A suspect little brown bat from a cave in Trigg County, about 30 miles southeast of Paducah, was submitted to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) in Athens, Ga., which confirmed the disease. White-nose syndrome was first detected in New York state in 2006. It has since killed more than one million cave-dwelling bats in eastern North America. Mortality rates of bats have reached almost 100 percent in multi-year infected caves. With confirmation of the syndrome in Kentucky, a total of 16 states - mostly in the eastern U.S. - and three Canadian provinces have now been confirmed infected. This is likely the most significant disease threat to wildlife Kentucky has ever seen, said Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commissioner, Dr. Jonathan Gassett. It would be professionally irresponsible to take no action to stop or slow this disease. Bats are an important part of our natural environment, acting as pollinators and consuming mosquitoes and other insect pests across the landscape. We plan to aggressively manage this threat as it occurs in Kentucky in order to protect and conserve our bat populations. Anticipating the arrival of white-nose syndrome (WNS) in Kentucky, biologists have taken exhaustive measures to limit its spread. We have had a long-term partnership to address white-nose syndrome in Kentucky since it was first discovered in New York state, said Mike Armstrong, USFWS Regional WNS Coordinator. Now that it is confirmed here, we will continue to support the state in their research and management to limit the spread as much as we can. WNS is known to be transmitted primarily from bat to bat, but fungal spores may be inadvertently carried to caves by humans on clothing and caving gear. Both state and federal agencies took pro-active measures to limit potential human movement of the disease. These measures included increased education on decontamination procedures, surveillance, monitoring and cave closures on private, state and federal lands. All measures were included in the Kentucky WNS Response Plan developed in 2009. Kentucky was the first state to develop a response plan to address WNS both before and after its arrival in the state. Almost 100 hibernacula were checked throughout Kentucky during the winter. The Trigg County cave was one of five revisited by scientists upon confirmation of WNS in Ohio. These hibernacula were rechecked due to their known proximity to infected sites in adjacent states. The privately-owned Trigg County cave is used as a hibernaculum by six species, including the endangered Indiana bat, and is a summer roost for the endangered gray bats. Surrounding caves were checked within a 16-mile radius; no additional infected sites were found. Measures were taken to limit the spread of WNS beyond the Trigg County cave that is regularly used as a hibernaculum by more than 2,000 bats. These included removing and euthanizing 60 highly suspect little brown bats and tri-colored bats, as they were not expected to survive. Bats collected will be used to provide critical information to researchers. Under the direction of Kentucky Fish and Wildlifes veterinarian, Dr. Aaron Hecht, staff from SCWDS collected samples from the bats. A better understanding of the disease process will enhance our ability to respond to outbreaks, said Hecht. Spores of Geomyces destructans, the fungus associated with WNS, are known to reside in the environment. Physical barriers were strategically affixed within the cave to prevent bats from roosting in areas known to harbor infected individuals. These barriers will not alter the climate or restrict passageways used by bats. Scientists are attempting to reduce the possibility of other bats from coming in direct contact with the fungal spores and becoming infected. White-nose syndrome does not affect people. Pest-control services provided by insect-eating bats in the United States likely save the U.S. agricultural industry at least $3 billion a year, and yet insectivorous bats are among the most overlooked economically important, non-domesticated animals in North America, according to an analysis published in this weeks Science magazine Policy Forum. (Source: USGS) For more information about white-Nose syndrome, visit these websites: www.fw.ky.govwww.fws.gov/WhiteNoseSyndrome www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq/sets/72157626485081164 www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2743
Fungus sweeps across the country, killing bats [Sun Apr 03 01:00:00 EDT 2011]
Reporting from Ruidoso, N.M. More than 100 hibernating bats hang from the vaulted ceiling of a chilly gallery in central New Mexico's Fort Stanton Cave, seemingly unaware of the lights from helmet lanterns sweeping over their gargoyle-like faces.The mood is heavy with anxiety as biologists Marikay Ramsey and Debbie Buecher search for signs of white-nose syndrome, a novel, infectious and lethal cold-loving fungus that digests the skin and wings of hibernating bats and smudges their muzzles with a powdery white growth.
Bats Worth Billions to Agriculture: Pest-control Services at Risk [Fri Apr 01 01:00:00 EDT 2011]
Pest-control services provided by insect-eating bats in the United States likely save the U.S. agricultural industry at least $3 billion a year, and yet insectivorous bats are among the most overlooked economically important, non-domesticated animals in North America, according to an analysis published in this weeks Science magazine Policy Forum. "People often ask why we should care about bats, said Paul Cryan, a U.S. Geological Survey research scientist and one of the studys authors. This analysis suggests that bats are saving us big bucks by gobbling up insects that eat or damage our crops. It is obviously beneficial that insectivorous bats are patrolling the skies at night above our fields and forests these bats deserve help." The value of the pest-control services to agriculture provided by bats in the U.S. alone range from a low of $3.7 billion to a high of $53 billion a year, estimated the studys authors, scientists from the University of Pretoria (South Africa), USGS, University of Tennessee and Boston University. They also warned that noticeable economic losses to North American agriculture could occur in the next 4 to 5 years as a result of emerging threats to bat populations. Bats eat tremendous quantities of flying pest insects, so the loss of bats is likely to have long-term effects on agricultural and ecological systems, said Justin Boyles, a researcher with the University of Pretoria and the lead author of the study. Consequently, not only is the conservation of bats important for the well-being of ecosystems, but it is also in the best interest of national and international economies. A single little brown bat, which has a body no bigger than an adults thumb, can eat 4 to 8 grams (the weight of about a grape or two) of insects each night, the authors wrote. Although this may not sound like much, it adds up the loss of the one million bats in the Northeast has probably resulted in between 660 and 1320 metric tons of insects no longer being eaten each year by bats in the region. Additionally, because the agricultural value of bats in the Northeast is small compared with other parts of the country, such losses could be even more substantial in the extensive agricultural regions in the Midwest and the Great Plains where wind-energy development is booming and the fungus responsible for white-nose syndrome was recently detected, said Tom Kunz, a professor of ecology at Boston University, another co-author. Although these estimates include the costs of pesticide applications that are not needed because of the pest-control services bats provide, Boyles and his colleagues said they did not account for the detrimental effects of pesticides on ecosystems nor the economic benefits of bats suppressing pest insects in forests, both of which may be considerable. Bat populations are at risk in some areas of the country as a result of the emerging disease of white-nose syndrome. The loss of bats to white-nose syndrome has largely occurred during the past 4 years, after the disease first appeared in upstate New York. Since then, the fungus thought to cause white-nose syndrome has spread southward and westward and has now been found in 16 states and 3 Canadian provinces. Bat declines in the Northeast, the most severely affected region in the U.S. thus far, have exceeded 70 percent. Populations of at least one species, the little brown bat, have declined so precipitously that scientists expect the species to disappear from the region within the next 20 years. Scientists are also concerned with the potential for losses of certain species of migratory bats at wind-energy facilities. By one estimate, published by Kunz and colleagues in 2007, about 33,000 to 111,000 bats will die each year by 2020 just in the mountainous region of the Mid-Atlantic Highlands from direct collisions with wind turbines as well as lung damage caused by pressure changes bats experience when flying near moving turbine blades. The issue raised by the authors is that the impacts on bat populations from white nose syndrome and wind turbines are just beginning to interact and might result in economic consequences. We hope that our analysis gets people thinking more about the value of bats and why their conservation is important, said Gary McCracken, a University of Tennessee professor and co-author of the analysis. The bottom line is that the natural pest-control services provided by bats save farmers a lot of money. The authors conclude that solutions to reduce threats to bat populations may be possible in the coming years, but that such work is most likely to be driven by public support that will require a wider awareness of the benefits of insectivorous bats. The article, Economic importance of bats in agriculture, appears in the April 1 edition of Science. Authors are J.G. Boyles, P. Cryan, G. McCracken and T. Kunz.
Deadly White-Nose Syndrome threatens bats in Buckeye State [Mon Mar 28 01:00:00 EDT 2011]
Ohio bats are happily hibernating, but a fatal syndrome targeting the winged mammals could soon strike.Its knocking on Ohios door right now, said Greg Turner, an endangered-mammal specialist with the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Lawrence County has four confirmed sites just miles from the Ohio border.
White Nose Syndrome Confirmed [Fri Mar 11 01:00:00 EST 2011]
Maryland Department of Natural Resources biologists have confirmed that White-nose Syndrome (WNS) has been found in an abandoned mine complex in western Washington County. The mine complex serves as an important bat hibernacula, or bat hibernation site. WNS is a malady causing unprecedented bat mortality across the eastern United States. Affected bats display a white fungal growth on their muzzles or other exposed skin.
Silent bat killer creeps closer to Illinois [Fri Mar 04 01:00:00 EST 2011]
Wildlife officials have sounded the all-clear for white-nose syndrome in Illinois for this year, but after several bats tested positive for white-nose syndrome in south central Indiana last month, its just a matter of time before the deadly fungus will spread to the Land of Lincoln.
Tackling Wildlife Disease (Podcast) [Wed Feb 23 01:00:00 EST 2011]
Susan Bence is WUWMs environmental reporter. She produced our piece on the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison. The NWHC is where the leading work on White-Nose Syndrome in bats is taking place.
Strange disease is killing Virginia's bats [Mon Feb 14 01:00:00 EST 2011]
Death showed its face right away.As scientists approached Hamilton Cave to check on the bats inside, they found the body of one wedged in a crack outside the cave's mouth.The bat's nose was white, as if the thumb-sized animal had poked its gargoyle face into flour."The first white-nose victim at Hamilton Cave," geologist Wil Orndorff said somberly.
White Nose Syndrome Spreads to Bats in 2 More States [Thu Feb 10 01:00:00 EST 2011]
With new discoveries of white nose syndrome, the mysterious bat disease, in Indiana and North Carolina, the scourge has now been documented in 16 states and two Canadian provinces, from New Hampshire to Oklahoma, according to the accounting of the Center for Biological Diversity. Read more: http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/white-nose-syndrome-map#ixzz1DbPDJspU
The Desperate Battle Against Killer Bat Plague [Wed Dec 08 01:00:00 EST 2010]
Its a postcard October morning at Kentuckys Carter Caves state park. Sycamore and hickory have already turned orange, and the sun crests ancient Appalachian slopes against a cloudless sky. With Halloween a few days away, a life-sized Elvis dummy peeks out a visitor center window. Middle schoolers on a field trip are coming down one of the trails, preceded by their laughter.The idyll is complete but for two details: All but two of the parks caves are permanently shut to the public, and in the parking lot are six researchers in Tyvek bodysuits and gloves, like extras from Outbreak.The caves are closed, and bodysuits required, because of White Nose Syndrome, a bat-killing disease more virulent than any other disease in the known history of mammals. As the children walk to their bus, I wonder if theyll remember this morning as adults, and tell their own kids about a time when bats lived in caves. Whats wrong with the bats? a girl asks, her tour guides having kept the day shadow-free. Theyre sick, I say.
Bat Crash [Wed Dec 01 01:00:00 EST 2010]
On the outskirts of Madison, Wisconsin, stands a low brick structure equipped with ventilation scrubbers and surrounded by a tall chain-link fence: the Tight Isolation Building of the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC), a federal research facility devoted to combating wildlife diseases. Inside, a cinder block corridor circuits the Animal Isolation Wing, passing a series of well-sealed experiment rooms, each visible through a thick window. One room is furnished with sawdust and burrowlike pipes to approximate the habitat for prairie dogs involved in a vaccine trial against Yersinia pestis, the organism that causes plague. In another room zebra finches in birdcages are playing a role in research toward a vaccine for West Nile virus. Two rooms are darkened, for the comfort of hibernating bats. The first contains normal animals of the species Myotis lucifugus, commonly called little brown bats. They are the controls. The second dark room houses little browns exposed to Geomyces destructans, a filamentous white fungus of unknown origin that first appeared among North American bats in 2006. In just four years, it has hit hibernating bat populations in New York, Vermont, and a growing list of other states and Canadian provinces more lethally than Yersinia pestis hit the peasants of medieval France.
Proposed rules to protect bat population criticized [Mon Nov 29 01:00:00 EST 2010]
Rules designed to slow or stop the spread of the deadly bat disease known as white-nose syndrome into Wisconsin were attacked by critics Monday as being too heavy-handed, especially for commercial operators who could be required to seal off their caves from bats.
Does a White Nose Belie a Wing Load of Problems? More on WNS [Mon Nov 29 01:00:00 EST 2010]
In a recent post, I wrote about White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) in hibernating bats in North America. WNS was first documented on February 2006, by a recreational caver exploring Howes Cave in New York, who photographed a bat with an unusual white growth on its muzzle. In the few years since that picture was snapped, hundreds of thousands of bats in North America have died from
Decline of little brown bats 'definitely worsening' [Sat Nov 06 01:00:00 EDT 2010]
The catastrophic drop in the little brown bat population is continuing, with the numbers down 50 percent from last summer and 80 percent from 2008, according to the results of New Jersey's annual summer bat count. The dramatic declines are due to a fungus that attacks the bats during their winter hibernation in caves and abandoned mines. The outbreak is called white-nose syndrome for a white fuzz the fungus produces on the nose, ears and wing membranes of infected bats.
When a Cold, Wet, White Nose Isnt a Good Thing [Wed Nov 03 01:00:00 EDT 2010]
On February 16, 2006, a recreational caver exploring Howes Cave in Albany, New York, photographed a bat with an unusual white growth on its muzzle. In the few years since that picture was snapped, hundreds of thousands of bats in North America have died from White-Nose Syndrome (WNS; 1,2).
DNA-based detection of the fungal pathogen Geomyces destructans in soil from bat hibernacula [Thu Oct 07 01:00:00 EDT 2010]
White-nose syndrome (WNS) is an emerging disease causing unprecedented morbidity and mortality among bats in eastern North America. The disease is characterized by cutaneous infection of hibernating bats by the psychrophilic fungus, Geomyces destructans. Detection of G. destructans in environments occupied by bats will be critical for WNS surveillance, management, and characterization of the fungal lifecycle. We initiated an rRNA gene region-based molecular survey to characterize the distribution of G. destructans in soil samples collected from bat hibernacula in the eastern United States using an existing PCR test. Although this test did not specifically detect G. destructans in soil samples based on a presence/absence metric, it did favor amplification of DNA from putative Geomyces species. Cloning and sequencing of PCR products amplified from 24 soil samples revealed 74 unique sequence variants representing 12 clades. Clones with exact sequence matches to G. destructans were identified in three of 19 soil samples from hibernacula in states where WNS is known to occur. Geomyces destructans was not identified in an additional five samples collected outside of the region where WNS has been documented. This study highlights the diversity of putative Geomyces spp. in soil from bat hibernacula and indicates that further research is needed to better define the taxonomy of this genus and to develop enhanced diagnostic tests for rapid and specific detection of G. destructans in environmental samples.
Mysterious Bat-Killing Disease Appears Harmless in Europe [Mon Sep 20 01:00:00 EDT 2010]
Almost four years after bats in the Eastern United States began awakening from their winter slumber only to die en masse, the mechanism by which the so-called white-nose syndrome kills remains a mystery. The fungus associated with it, however, appears to have a European connection, scientists now say. Reports of European bats sporting the white puffs of fungi on their muzzles, which are the signature of white-nose syndrome in the United States, date back to the early 1980s. But no one paid much attention, because it was not associated with mass mortalities, according to Gudrun Wibbelt, a veterinary pathologist with the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin.
Scientists Find Drugs That May Fight Bat Disease [Mon Sep 13 01:00:00 EDT 2010]
Scientists may have found some ways to help the nation's bats, which are being wiped out by a novel fungal disease.Lab tests show that several drugs can fight the germ and that some antiseptics might help decontaminate areas where bats live or the shoes and hands of people who visit them, researchers reported at an infectious-diseases conference Sunday."Both of those are critical elements. The decontamination is in my mind the most immediate need," because people may be helping to spread the disease, called white-nose syndrome, said Jeremy Coleman, who heads the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's response to the problem.