White Nose Syndrome

This just disturbs me. On the eastern half of this continent bats are dying in massive numbers from a fungus disease which might be a mutation of a fungus from Europe; scientists suspect the European bats have evolved a resistance to the disease over time, but our native bats seem to have no resistance. The disease, as far as I know, hasn’t reached Illinois or Missouri yet, but it probably will. Here’s a quote from a comment at the Zooillogix blog:

I work at an upstate new york ecology research institution. I actually went on a bat survey in late winter at a cave (actually an old mine) in upstate NY which normally has several hundred thousand bats, which was in the process of collapsing. one of the largest hibernacula in the northeast (or it used to be)

There was two feet of snow on the ground, and normally there would be absolutely no active bats that time of year. But there was a more or less constant stream of bats trickling out of the cave, and flying off into the cold. There were none returning. It was really heartbreaking.

I remember the bat bones started appearing about half a mile from the cave entrance. Mostly just wings. Then we crested the hill and a huge flock of crows, which had been scavenging the dead bats, flew up into the trees and watched us the whole time we were there, waiting for us to leave. It was one of the creepiest experiences in my time as a biologist.

I had the feeling of witnessing something historically awful, apocalyptic. Like “Silent Spring”, only disturbingly real.

Posted by: mousedude | April 8, 2010 7:10 PM

I’m fond of bats and I hate to see such an epidemic take place. Our world is becoming diminished; the more people there are the less there are of every other species.

Larry

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