Halt on Caving?

Cave conservation issues, techniques, questions. Also visit the NSS Cave Conservation and Management Section.

Moderator: Moderators

Re: Halt on Caving?

Postby NZcaver » Feb 5, 2008 11:08 am

Mirth Beneath the Earth wrote:All of the emails I've been receiving from BCI simply advise us to stop caving in New York and Vermont.

Strange - that's a little different from the messages I've seen passed around by state bat biologists in the region. The advice I read was not to enter places with known hiberating bat populations. But perhaps it's all in the interpretation?

They offer a relatively thorough decontamination procedure for gear - with the exception of disinfecting boots and helmets I already abide by BCI's suggestions after I cave anyway. A little more bleach won't hurt.

Please note that while I've long supported the rigorous cleaning of caving gear between trips, I will repeat the message that many others have said. A "little more bleach" - particularly the chlorine type - can and will harm some of your caving gear. Maybe not boots and helmets, but especially nylon suits, ropes, harnesses, and some of those other little things which our lives can literally hang on.
User avatar
NZcaver
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 6316
Joined: Sep 7, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Name: Jansen
NSS #: 50665RL
Primary Grotto Affiliation: CCG
  

Re: Halt on Caving?

Postby Mirth Beneath the Earth » Feb 5, 2008 1:08 pm

I can't comment on what's going on up north, but this is an excerpt from an email I received from BCI through my grotto listserv:

Because it is not known how the disease spreads, cavers in New York and Vermont have been asked to avoid entering caves and mines until more information is available. No impacts to humans have been reported to date.


Again, I'm just referencing an email. You would know a whole lot more about what's what in New England, NZcaver. Also, I've never used bleach on anything but boots and helmets.
Who will descend into the abyss?

Romans 10:7
User avatar
Mirth Beneath the Earth
Frequent Poster
 
Posts: 80
Joined: Mar 7, 2007 7:42 pm
Location: State College, PA
Name: Jason
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Nittany Grotto
  

Re: Halt on Caving?

Postby ArCaver » Feb 5, 2008 5:13 pm

Mirth Beneath the Earth wrote:I can't comment on what's going on up north, but this is an excerpt from an email I received from BCI through my grotto listserv:

Because it is not known how the disease spreads, cavers in New York and Vermont have been asked to avoid entering caves and mines until more information is available. No impacts to humans have been reported to date.


Again, I'm just referencing an email. You would know a whole lot more about what's what in New England, NZcaver. Also, I've never used bleach on anything but boots and helmets.


I use an antibacterial cleaner and water on my helmet and mostly just water from a hose on my boots. I wont use bleach on my helmet because i want to preserve the integrity of the chin strap, and one pair of boots that I use have nylon/leather uppers.
User avatar
ArCaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 567
Joined: Jul 31, 2006 12:42 pm
  

Re: Halt on Caving?

Postby wyandottecaver » Feb 5, 2008 5:56 pm

It would appear BCI is taking the middle road.

I.E. recognizing that since possibly contaminated cavers and bats may have used non-bat caves on a transient basis they could still be sources of spreading the infection..therefore should be avoided by cavers. But limiting that restriction to only the states currrently known to have infected colonies rather than those adjacent to or within the migratory distance of bats.
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
User avatar
wyandottecaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 2902
Joined: Aug 24, 2007 8:44 pm
Location: Indiana
  

Re: Halt on Caving?

Postby redwolf » Feb 13, 2008 3:19 pm

A good day to everyone:

As a caver, I appreciate the conversations.

Yet, what about the science? What is the genus and species ID on the fungus? Have non-infected bats been evidenced within the contaminated colonies? What scientific work is being done? Please guide me to the research.

Lets start asking and researching the science questions, and not the emotions.

Let us gather in unity to search for the need answers.
redwolf
New Poster
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 13, 2008 3:04 pm
  

Re: Halt on Caving?

Postby NZcaver » Feb 13, 2008 4:52 pm

redwolf wrote:A good day to everyone:

As a caver, I appreciate the conversations.

Yet, what about the science? What is the genus and species ID on the fungus? Have non-infected bats been evidenced within the contaminated colonies? What scientific work is being done? Please guide me to the research.

Lets start asking and researching the science questions, and not the emotions.

Let us gather in unity to search for the need answers.

Welcome to the forum.

Although definitive answers are not yet known, you could read through Fungus serious threat to NE bats to find out more. That topic is the central point of discussion for this issue.
User avatar
NZcaver
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 6316
Joined: Sep 7, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Name: Jansen
NSS #: 50665RL
Primary Grotto Affiliation: CCG
  

Re: Halt on Caving?

Postby wyandottecaver » Feb 13, 2008 7:06 pm

redwolf,

As NZ caver said there is more info in the other thread. But since it is 8 pages and going I will try to address your main points

The fungus has been identified to the genus fusarium, no species as far as I know..but I could be outdated on that. infected vs non-infected is a tricky issue since the actual pathogen may or may not be the fungus. fungus and non-fungus bats have been found co-mingled at least in terms of a visual inspection. currently, several labs have received specimens and are conducting work on a variety of fronts. Thermal imaging, blood work, and comparisons between infected vs healthy colonies are underway or soon will be. A LOT of science is going on, as well as a lot of mis-information via the press (mostly well intentioned), but since this forum is mostly composed of recreational cavers the topics have stayed mostly non-technical.
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
User avatar
wyandottecaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 2902
Joined: Aug 24, 2007 8:44 pm
Location: Indiana
  

Re: Halt on Caving?

Postby Carl Amundson » Feb 13, 2008 9:42 pm

wyandottecaver wrote:redwolf,

As NZ caver said there is more info in the other thread. But since it is 8 pages and going I will try to address your main points

The fungus has been identified to the genus fusarium, no species as far as I know..but I could be outdated on that. infected vs non-infected is a tricky issue since the actual pathogen may or may not be the fungus. fungus and non-fungus bats have been found co-mingled at least in terms of a visual inspection. currently, several labs have received specimens and are conducting work on a variety of fronts. Thermal imaging, blood work, and comparisons between infected vs healthy colonies are underway or soon will be. A LOT of science is going on, as well as a lot of mis-information via the press (mostly well intentioned), but since this forum is mostly composed of recreational cavers the topics have stayed mostly non-technical.

Many of us on this board have scientific backgrounds.
If you can not or will not gives use the details regarding the science going on in this investigation, please point us to
a source for this information.
User avatar
Carl Amundson
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 681
Joined: Nov 8, 2006 11:27 am
Location: Berryville, Virginia
Name: Carl Amundson
NSS #: 50213
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Front Royal and Tri-State Grottos
  

Re: Halt on Caving?

Postby adleedy » Feb 13, 2008 10:13 pm

junkman wrote:
wyandottecaver wrote:redwolf,

As NZ caver said there is more info in the other thread. But since it is 8 pages and going I will try to address your main points

The fungus has been identified to the genus fusarium, no species as far as I know..but I could be outdated on that. infected vs non-infected is a tricky issue since the actual pathogen may or may not be the fungus. fungus and non-fungus bats have been found co-mingled at least in terms of a visual inspection. currently, several labs have received specimens and are conducting work on a variety of fronts. Thermal imaging, blood work, and comparisons between infected vs healthy colonies are underway or soon will be. A LOT of science is going on, as well as a lot of mis-information via the press (mostly well intentioned), but since this forum is mostly composed of recreational cavers the topics have stayed mostly non-technical.

Many of us on this board have scientific backgrounds.
If you can not or will not gives use the details regarding the science going on in this investigation, please point us to
a source for this information.


:exactly: Withholding any details will only add to this mess.
Alan D. Leedy

E.R.V.K.E.T Life Member

SAVE CAVE RIVERS http://WWW.8RIVERSSAFEDEVELOPMENT.COM
User avatar
adleedy
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 522
Joined: Dec 12, 2006 6:04 pm
Location: charleston, west virginia
Name: alan dwayne leedy
NSS #: 56663
Primary Grotto Affiliation: charleston grotto + ERVKET
  

Re: Halt on Caving?

Postby wyandottecaver » Feb 13, 2008 10:17 pm

junkman,

I could tell you the secret of WNS...but then I would have to kill you :big grin:

I was merely trying to be brief since the core information is located in the WNS thread...albeit buried in 8 pages of posts. I am well aware that many people have technical backgrounds, but so far at least the WNS thread has been non technical in nature.

As to the details of the science...what I know, has already been posted. My information is from communication with individuals and/or forums either directly or indirectly involved. The fact is there isn't very much that *is* known at this point.

We know 9 locations have been confirmed in NY and VT

Several states have issued advisories and many managed caves in the NE closed

We know bats exhibit fungal growth, reduced fat reserves, and pnumonia type symptoms

The fungus has been identified to the genus fusarium..and not species as far as I know.

Some alteration in behaviour such as a change in roosting sites and reduced sensitivity to disturbance has been noted

Most species of bats exposed are susceptible and year 2 caves have lost 90-95% of their populations

sites have been physically seperated by as much as 50-60 miles
many sites are heavily visited, some are not.

Several specimens have been collected and sent to multiple labs and researchers

An official with the NY pathology dept attributed the problem to global warming on a radio broadcast which has been widely criticized within the bat biologist community.

blood work, thermal imaging, necropsies, and toxicology screens are some of the areas of investigation mentioned to date but none have reported results..at least to my knowledge.

I might have missed something, but thats about all *I* know anyway. I probably should work on a "summary" post. I am still waiting on an inquiry I made regarding the actual number of dead bats found vs estimated.
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
User avatar
wyandottecaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 2902
Joined: Aug 24, 2007 8:44 pm
Location: Indiana
  

Re: Halt on Caving?

Postby icave » Feb 14, 2008 12:04 pm

wyandottecaver wrote:An official with the NY pathology dept attributed the problem to global warming on a radio broadcast which has been widely criticized within the bat biologist community.


To be fair, I think it should be pointed that the person who was interviewed is the head of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Wildlife Pathology Unit and has personally examined bats with the fungus. I think people are too casual to dismiss Mr. Stone's claims. When you have no information on what the problem is, or how it's spread, all possibilities should be carefully considered. However, there have been excellentcomments provided by the bat biologist community as to why some of the issues raised by Mr. Stone are not definitive. (Notice that they have not said that warming is NOT a factor, as right now we have no clue what ARE the factors, only what a few of the symptoms are.)

I know you were trying to sum everytrhing in a nutshell, which is difficult at best, but I felt the above comments were necesssary to keep a balanced outlook on the situation. Warming may very well be one of the contributing factors, which has been stated by bat biologists. The point is, no one really has a clue what this is or how it is spreading. (That is, if it is indeed transmittable.)

Hopefully there will be some answers for the samples being analyzed now. 90% mortality is too high no mater what the cause is.
Signature, I don't need no stinkin signature!
User avatar
icave
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 214
Joined: Sep 7, 2005 8:50 am
Location: Fountain Hill, PA
Name: Mike Spencer
NSS #: 48165
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Greater Allentown Grotto
  

Re: Halt on Caving?

Postby wyandottecaver » Feb 14, 2008 5:47 pm

I think most bat biologists who have heard mr. Stone's radio program have had similiar comments as to its validity. The main issue is that he implies global warming *is* the problem, not just a possible contributor. But different viewpoints to a problem are always welcome. Warming temperatures have actually been speculated to have helped some bat species (Indiana bats) being able to expand their range and populations in the north.

Thanks to the DC grotto and NZ caver who pointed out the link, there is some information available regarding bat carcasses found last year. The poster by Al Hicks is VERY informative.

http://www.caves.org/grotto/dcg/white-nose.html


this is a GREAT resource!
it was noted that there are many "missing" carcasses and scavengers had been evident at some sites.
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
User avatar
wyandottecaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 2902
Joined: Aug 24, 2007 8:44 pm
Location: Indiana
  

Re: Halt on Caving?

Postby tncaver » Feb 14, 2008 9:28 pm

wyandottecaver wrote:I think most bat biologists who have heard mr. Stone's radio program have had similiar comments as to its validity. The main issue is that he implies global warming *is* the problem, not just a possible contributor. But different viewpoints to a problem are always welcome. Warming temperatures have actually been speculated to have helped some bat species (Indiana bats) being able to expand their range and populations in the north.

it was noted that there are many "missing" carcasses and scavengers had been evident at some sites.



Seems highly UNlikely that scavengers would be deep enough into the dark zone of any cave to be scavenging
where bats hibernate. They usually hibernate DEEP inside most caves. At least that is the case in the Southeast.
Also I have noted that "global warming" has created temperature extremes both high and low. Not just warmer
temperatures but temperature extremes in both directions. That is what occurs in deserts. Extreme temperatures.
tncaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 2623
Joined: May 17, 2007 7:03 pm
  

Re: Halt on Caving?

Postby Teresa » Feb 14, 2008 10:17 pm

This is over there banging on the speculative wall, but it might provide a lead or an aha moment to some bat biologist:

Any idea there might be some correlation between this bat problem and honeybee colony collapse syndrome? They don't know what causes that either: both animals fly, both animals are colonial and both have experienced precipitous declines in a short time. Originally, they blamed the colonial bee thing on parasites, but then they realized that the parasites were a symptom, not a cause. (Possibly analogous to the fungal infection.)

Listened to a program on honeybee decline today at work, and except for the species, they could have been talking about bats.
Teresa
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Dec 31, 2005 9:06 pm
  

Re: Halt on Caving?

Postby tncaver » Feb 14, 2008 10:22 pm

Wonder how long it will be before this kind of a mysterious scourge begins to affect humans? :yikes:
tncaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 2623
Joined: May 17, 2007 7:03 pm
  

PreviousNext

Return to Conservation Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users