Here’s a seven minute story about WNS, focusing mostly on Oregon caves and bats.
Bad news. The WNS fungus was recently discovered on a bat in an Indiana cave. Researchers doing biennial bat counts at Endless Cave in Washington County discovered two little brown bats on Jan. 23 that exhibited the white fungus characteristic of WNS. One of the bats was euthanized and sent to the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, which later confirmed the presence of the WNS-associated fungus. Additional bats with signs of WNS were discovered during routine bat count surveys at other caves, so expect more reports.
Winter bat inventories in Alabama are scheduled to begin on or around February 15 and go through mid-March. Check back soon for updates on WNS in Alabama. Hopefully it won’t arrive this year!
The Alabama Bat Working Group (ABWG) held a mini bat blitz October 12 – 17, 2010 in Northeast Alabama. Around 18 biologists, cavers, and volunteers mist-netted for bats. Surveyed lands included the Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge, Shoal Creek Ranger District of Talladega National Forest, and the US Army’s Pelham Range. Overall, the group captured about a dozen bats including a red bat, hoary bat, evening bat and big brown bat. All individuals captured appeared healthy. A very small piece of bat wing was taken from nine bats and submitted to the American Museum of Natural History. This was to make sure to collect and preserve unique genetic information about these bat species for future researchers. All bats were released after being examined. US Fish & Wildlife Service biologist Bill Gates trained seven biologist on collecting wing samples. Special recognition goes to Eva Kristofik of the US Fish & Wildlife Service for coordinating the event. Below are some pictures of the bat that the group captured.
Bill “Gator” Gates of the US Fish and Wildlife Service took the following photos during the blitz.
Jodie Smithem with the US FWS recording wing sample data:
The weather is starting to get cold and Alabama’s bats are getting ready to hibernate. But this winter is different. White Nose Syndrome is very close to Alabama and we need your help to look for suspicious bats in Alabama. What should you look for? We’d like to hear from you if you’ve seen any of the following:
- Bats that are dying or dead in groups of 5 or more
- Bats with a white fungus on their face or wings
- Missing or greatly-reduced summer bat colonies
You can review additional photos of WNS-affected bats at the Fish and Wildlife Service web page. If you see anything suspicious, don’t touch the bats. Please take pictures of the bat(s) and make a note of the street address if you’re in a city. Get a GPS location if you can. If you’re out hiking, try to get a GPS location, but if you can’t, please try to be as specific about the area where you saw the bat(s).
Also, let your friends, colleagues, scouting groups, and church groups know about this effort. If the community can help wildlife biologists track WNS, it will be easier to figure out where the disease is moving, and learn more about it. Thank you for your help!
Are you a caver? Here’s YouTube channel that describes how to decontaminate your gear, thanks to the Caver Safety Techniques Channel. Check back for additional videos about gear decon.
This video describes how to prepare a bleach bath for deconning gear:
This video shows how to decontaminate vertical gear:
This video shows how to set up a gear decon station at a caving event: