Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bat Deaths from WNF


Disturbing news from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concerning the health of North American bat populations.   An agency  news release dated January 17th of this year reported that since White Nose Fungus (WNF)  was first detected in 2006 at Howes Cave near Albany, NY, an estimated 6.7 million mammals have died in 16 northeastern states and Canada.  Wildlife experts predict the disease will soon spread as far west as Oklahoma and threatens at least three species-- the little brown bat; the tri-colored bat; and the northern long-eared bat--with extinction. 

Named for the way it covers their snouts like baby powder, WNF is caused by an aggressive flesh-eating fungus that eats through the skin and membranes of bats.

Photo courtesy Al Hicks, New York Department of Environmental Conservation

When you consider that one million bats can consume  nearly 700 tons of harmful insects per year, the agricultural ramifications of this disease are disastrous.

The most frightening aspect to this story, however, is found in the following  statement from Bat Conservation International:

“Scientists across North America are searching desperately for solutions, but they have thus far found no way to cure WN Syndrome or to slow its relentless advance across the continent.”

Good grief!  First the honey bees, and now the bats!  What in the world is going on and why can’t anyone do anything about it?!  Surely the best and brightest minds from our greatest universities and think tanks can get to the bottom of these crises.  It’s been interesting to peruse the comments sections from the bat article and read the theories that have been offered up, such as:  wind turbines; cell towers; chem trails.  What do YOU think?

Bat Conservation International Press Release: 

Washington Post story:  

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