Time may be running out for Alabama’s bats

Here’s an article published in the Birmingham News about Alabama bats and the threat from WNS. The article features our state’s non-game wildlife biologist Keith Hudson.If you want to witness the awe-inspiring bat flight from Sauta Cave in north Alabama, you should go soon. As Keith says, this may be the last year we will be able to witness the spectacular bat flight.

The nightly emergence — the largest of its kind east of the Mississippi River — provoked a successions of “Wow!” and “Oh, my gosh!” exclamations from the 200 witnesses on hand to hear from Keith Hudson, a wildlife biologist and bat expert with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The bats soon strike silhouettes to the delight of people gathered at Sauta Cave National Wildlife Preserve to observe more than 300,000 Gray bats emerge from the entrance Tuesday July 20, 2010 in Scottsboro, Ala. The cave holds the largest concentration of Gray Bats in the world. (Birmingham News, Hal Yeager) Sauta Cave Gray bat emergence gallery (17 photos) // <![CDATA[

This year, though, that sense of wonder is mingled with the dread of impending loss, as a bat-killing fungus called white-nose syndrome spreads south and threatens the Alabama caves where gray bats are concentrated.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this summer may be the last time we will see emergences like this. So I hope you enjoy it,” Hudson told the crowd. ” If you come back in two or three years, and it has done to gray bats what it has done in other species, we won’t see this sight again.”

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