Deadly mold decimates bats
This article is pertinent in that defense experts and government health officials insist mold is harmless. Not so, in nature. Not so, in schools. (SMH)
Bat die-off escalating in caves near Rosendale
Cause remains mystery; DEC investigating
By Wayne A. Hall
Posted: March 26, 2009 - 2:00 AM
ROSENDALE - The fungus attacking hibernating bats has gone from grim to
catastrophic in the caves around Rosendale.
“In one cave ... the bats have gone from 13,000 to 200 in one year,” said
bat expert Alan Hicks of the state Department of Environmental
Conservation. “Some sites have lost 90 percent of hibernating cave bats.”
Little brown bats – the common small bats fluttering at dusk, snagging
mosquitoes – are being wiped out in huge numbers. And if they go, “that
would be like there were no more robins, squirrels, or chipmunks in New
York state,” Hicks said.
The deadly white-nose syndrome fungus has spread amazingly fast, Hicks
added. “It’s now 300 miles south in West Virginia in just a year.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey’s National
Wildlife Center, and the state DEC have teamed up to investigate the bat
die-off. A team of fungus experts is being assembled.
The white-nose syndrome was reportedly first found in the popular tourist
attraction Howe Caverns near Albany in 2006. Since then, it has spread
rapidly for reasons that aren’t clear, said Robyn Niver, a USGS endangered
Is it a secondary infection from some other cause? Is it an organism
that’s traveled from Europe on the shoes of tourists to go on a killing
spree here? Was it always here, waiting for some chance to strike?
Fungicides have been proposed to harness the fungus. New York’s wildlife
pathologist Ward Stone has cultured a bacteria that kills the fungus,
according to The Associated Press. Stone could not be reached Wednesday.