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Bats: White-Nose Syndrome

 
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dmccully



Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Posts: 81
Location: West Valley City, Utah

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 11:12 am    Post subject: Bats: White-Nose Syndrome Reply with quote

The original website containing the following information is http://www.fws.gov/northeast/white_nose.html. Please check there for further updates.

News From the Northeast Region

Something is killing our bats:
The white-nose syndrome mystery


Last year, some 8,000 to 11,000 bats died in several Albany, N.Y.- area cave hibernacula, more than half the wintering bat population in those caves. Many of the dead bats had a white fungus. This year, biologists are seeing the white fungus on bats hibernating in New York, southwest Vermont and western Massachusetts.

At least one of the affected species, the Indiana bat, is protected by the Endangered Species Act. Little brown bats are sustaining the largest number of deaths, as well as northern long-eared, eastern pipistrelle and other bat species using the same caves.

The bats with this white-nose syndrome have the white fungus on their noses and occasionally other parts of their bodies. It is unknown if the fungus is causing the deaths or is symptomatic of a disease. Human health implications are not known; there is no information indicating that people have been affected after exposure to the white
fungus.

The State of New York Department of Environmental Conservation is investigating the geographical extent of the outbreak in New York and has provided carcasses to several laboratories for analysis to help determine the cause of bat deaths. The bat conservation community is concerned and involved in exploring the possible cause of the disease. Cavers are coordinating with state biologists to help assess the situation. Now the focus is first on identifying the cause of the outbreak and the deaths, and second on learning how it spreads.

If you have information about white-nose syndrome in bats, send it to our endangered species biologists at WhiteNoseBats@fws.gov.

What can you do to help?
The Service is partnering with the Northeastern Cave Conservancy to track movements of cavers who have visited affected sites in New York. If you have visited Knox, Schoharie, Gages, or Hailes caves in New York, the conservancy asks you to visit its site to complete a Trip Visitation Form for WNS Study.

Indiana State University Center for North American Bat Research and Conservation has established a fund for research and response activities related to white nose syndrome.

Bat Conservation International has likewise established its Fund for White Nose Syndrome Research.

Message to Cavers
You should not handle bats. If you come across live or dead bats with white–nose syndrome, contact your state wildlife agency or a nearby U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office.

The Service applauds the caving community's strong conservation ethic and long-time support of bat conservation efforts, and we ask for your continued cooperation and assistance as we address white-nose syndrome. We request that cavers continue to observe all cave closures and advisories, and to avoid caves or passages of caves containing large hibernating populations of any bat species. The Service is not encouraging individual cavers or caving groups to systematically search for bats with white-nose syndrome in caves or mines.

We ask that you take the following precautions to prevent the possible spread of white-nose syndrome ("caves" includes all caves, fissures, mines, portals, etc.):
  • Observe all cave closures and advisories in all states. Some state have instituted closures and issued advisories beyond normal permanent and seasonal closures. New York has closed all infected sites. New York, Vermont, and New Jersey have advised all individuals to stay out of all caves with bats. Other states have instituted, or are considering instituting, closures of caves with bats and/or advisories to stay out of caves with bats. On this Web page, we will provide information about state closures and advisories of which we are aware. Just prior to caving, check this Web page for updated
    closures and advisories. If this Web page does not include closure information from a state in which you plan to go caving, contact that state's wildlife agency to obtain the latest information on cave access. Before caving in another country, check with the country's wildlife agency for information on cave access.
  • Upon exiting a cave, whether inhabitated by bats or not, in New York, Vermont, and adjacent states (New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania), follow the containment and decontamination procedures below. Decontaminate all clothing, footwear, and gear prior to departing for a caving outing if you did not decontaminate these items after last exiting a cave. In these states, we ask that you not take gear into a cave if that gear cannot be decontaminated or disposed of (e.g., if harnesses, ropes, or webbing cannot be decontaminated, we advise that you not enter caves or parts of caves requiring use of this gear and not take this gear into the cave).
  • Because clothing, footwear, and gear used in accessing a cave in New York or Vermont within the past 2 years could pose a risk of spreading the syndrome, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service advises that these items (whether or not currently located in New York or Vermont) not be used when accessing caves anywhere and that these
    items not be transported out of New York or Vermont - until the cause of the syndrome is identified and the effectiveness of decontamination procedures can be evaluated. We advise that you decontaminate these items immediately (see decontamination procedures below) and store them away, and that you thoroughly wash and decontaminate any surfaces with which these items may have come into contact (e.g., car trunk).


If, while caving this winter, you observe a hibernating bat with a white muzzle or other odd white, fungus-like patches, please follow these guidelines:
  • Do not touch any bats (living or dead), especially those with a white muzzle or nose.
  • If you have a camera with you, please take a few photographs of the potentially affected bat(s).
  • Exit the cave immediately, avoiding contact with other bats.
  • Contain and decontaminate your clothing, footwear, and gear following the procedures below.
  • Contact your state wildlife agency or your nearest U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service field office to report your potential white-nose syndrome observations.
  • Report any dead bats found outdoors or any unusual numbers of bats outside during cold weather, especially near a cave where bats hibernate.


White-Nose Syndrome Containment and Decontamination Procedures
The Service asks that cavers please follow these procedures for containment and decontamination. Prior to each caving outing, please check this Web page for updates to these procedures.


FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Following are links to related Web pages of other regions and state news releases about white-nose syndrome. The list is not necessarily comprehensive. We recommend that you contact individual states for the most current information about the situation.

For cave closure information and related advisories:
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Duane McCully
NSS 39454
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jasonbx



Joined: 07 Feb 2006
Posts: 60
Location: SLC, Utah

PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

New article being passed around, pretty good. From the NY Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/25/science/25bats.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
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dmccully



Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Posts: 81
Location: West Valley City, Utah

PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 6:08 pm    Post subject: Congressional Funding and Additional Links Reply with quote

Apparently, as of 29-Oct-2009, congress has approved $1.9 million for WNS research (http://tinyurl.com/yfzo7jg).

There are now a number of websites tracking information on this disease:

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Duane McCully
NSS 39454
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dmccully



Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Posts: 81
Location: West Valley City, Utah

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a copy of an e-mail received by the Salt Lake Grotto on 24-Jan-2010:

ALERT

A national organization, the Center for Biological Diversity, has filed emergency petitions that would radically affect access to caves in the continental United States, and more. In the press release are links to their formal petitions. Please take the time to fully read the petitions, especially the first, which deals most directly with cave access.

In brief, they have petitioned the federal government to close all caves and mines on federal lands within the continental U.S., designating all caves and mines on federal land within the continental United States as "significant", promulgate a new rule defining "taking" under the Endangered Species Act that would ban traveling between any caves on public or private land, making both cavers and landowners legally liable; and adding two bat species - Eastern Small-footed, and Northern Long-eared - to the federal Endangered Species list. They cite White Nose Syndrome (WNS) as the reason for doing all of this.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2010/bats-01-21-2010.html

As the WNS Liaison for the NSS, I believe this is an extremely serious threat from a well-funded and litigious organization, and should be responded to at all levels, including by cave conservancies as organizations. I shudder to think of the possible conservation ramifications: sealing of caves by blasting, bulldozing, refilling sinkholes with rubbish that we worked so hard to pull out, groundwater pollution, vandalism, long-established collaborative relationships with landowners and agencies, and ironically, the destruction of cave habitat.

I strongly suggest a prompt and professional response, sending any correspondence to pertinent parties at the Center for Biological Diversity and IMPORTANTLY to the federal officials to whom they sent petitions. Those federal officials are listed within the petitions. The key CBD personnel are:

Mollie Matteson, Conservation Advocate, author of the material:
mmatteson@biologicaldiversity.org

Kieran Suckling, Executive Director and founder:
ksuckling@biologicaldiversity.org

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Peter Youngbaer
NSS WNS Liaison
youngbaer4@aol.com
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Duane McCully
NSS 39454
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