Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bats 18/12/09

Brock Fenton shudders when he thinks of a world without bats. For more than 40 years, Fenton - a professor at the University of Western Ontario and Canada's foremost bat expert - has been visiting an abandoned mine 75 kilometres west of Ottawa near Renfrew, Ont., where bats hibernate by the thousands. Fenton knows that one day soon they may all be gone, killed by a lethal fungus that is destroying the bats of eastern North America. It's called white-nose syndrome and since its appearance less than four years ago, it has killed, by some estimates, more than a million bats in the Northeastern U.S. * read more....

Federal wildlife officials hoping to check the spread of a disease killing hibernating bats in Eastern states are recommending steps that states farther west should take if "white-nose syndrome" strikes. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sent recommendations to state and federal land management agencies in about two dozen states Friday outlining precautions for hibernation caves or mines hit by white-nose. They recommend closing affected caves, with a possible exception for researchers. They also recommend research-only access for caves within 75 miles of an affected site. White-nose is estimated to have killed more than a million bats in nine states since it was first noticed in New York in 2006. The syndrome is named for the sugary smudges of fungus on the noses and wings of affected bats. *AP

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