THE NSS AND WNS

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THE NSS AND WNS

Postby RSteve503 » May 9, 2011 11:26 pm

Funny, I tried to register under my name, and it was taken, and my normal email address was also already in use, which is impossible unless I already registered, which I have no record of.....and there seems to be no way to contact the forum folks to get this fixed. But I only registered to post this one message.

Anyway...

The situation on WNS, right now, is this -- It has spread from New York to middle Tennessee and out here in the far west, we are hoping it stops. A doctor says it has spread in a typical epidemic manner and typically is now dying out, as epidemics do.

One big danger is the start of a new epicenter, further west. It is presumed that that is what happened in New York. A tourist from Europe,where the fungus already lived, visits a commercial cave in New York and off we go.

The evidence says bats are spreading it, but out west, where nearly all the caves are on public land, the land owning agencies are talking like humans have something to do with it. Whether they do or not, dealing with humans, thur bans and such, is something the agencies can actually do, as opposed to telling the bats to stay home. Cavers out west are very worried. Cavers in Region 2 of the USFS are already screwed.

If bats are the only agency causing the spread, I apologize to the humans I am now addressing. But for now lets presume humans do spread it.

How to stop a new epicenter from popping up? Simple. Folks from infected areas STAY HOME.

Yes, not so simple. Ban tourism? Aint gonna happen. NPS, USFS or BLM opentour caves go closed for a year or two? Are you kidding?

But then I realize....the only national caving organization we have, the NSS, is having a NATIONAL CONVENTION in an uninfected area, this summer. Is this MADNESS, or what?

If the NSS really wants to stop the spread of WNS, they would tell all members to CAVE LOCALLY for a year or two...dont take a chance on some caver going to the convention, and bringing WNS to that region.

And decontamination of gear? An associate who is a doctor tells me that it wont work, as it will not achieve surgical sterility. Its a placebo.

If you are a conservation-minded caver, and from a WNS infected area.....you will not attend that convention. And to the NSS admin....how about splitting the convention, one inside the infected area and one outside... or just calling off the one in Colorado?? Dont take a chance...
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Re: THE NSS AND WNS

Postby MUD » May 10, 2011 12:09 am

RSteve503 wrote:If the NSS really wants to stop the spread of WNS, they would tell all members to CAVE LOCALLY for a year or two...dont take a chance on some caver going to the convention, and bringing WNS to that region.

:rofl: I guess the bats will just stay local too huh?

And decontamination of gear? An associate who is a doctor tells me that it wont work, as it will not achieve surgical sterility. Its a placebo.

:clap: Decon is for dummies! :waving:
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Re: THE NSS AND WNS

Postby batrotter » May 10, 2011 4:15 am

Looks like the new poster is a member of the CBD.
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Re: THE NSS AND WNS

Postby John Lovaas » May 10, 2011 9:45 am

RSteve503 wrote:But I only registered to post this one message.


Or you are a troll. For someone who points out that 'someone else' has their name and email on this forum, it is surprising that you couldn't actually sign your post- by typing your name at the end.

RSteve503 wrote:But for now lets presume humans do spread it.


By presuming that, you are blindly speculating.

RSteve503 wrote:If the NSS really wants to stop the spread of WNS, they would tell all members to CAVE LOCALLY for a year or two...dont take a chance on some caver going to the convention, and bringing WNS to that region.


Funny- every federal agency in the eastern US addressed that by closing caves on public lands. Closing all caves is far more aggressive than limiting cavers to geographic areas, and has done nothing to limit the spread of the fungus.

RSteve503 wrote:And decontamination of gear? An associate who is a doctor tells me that it wont work, as it will not achieve surgical sterility. Its a placebo.


Your 'associate who is a doctor' is misinformed or apocryphal. Surgical sterility is designed to eliminate all viruses and bacteria- and to appease lawyers. It is reasonable, from the current available evidence, to assume that WNS is caused by a fungus- Geomyces destructans. The decon protocols were designed by microbiologists who actually study these microorganisms. They staked their reputations on these protocols. These protocols are designed to remove viable spores from caver's gear. If the USFWS WNS protocols were a placebo, bat biologists(who have been following these protocols) would have spread Gd all throughout North America by now.

RSteve503 wrote:If you are a conservation-minded caver, and from a WNS infected area.....you will not attend that convention. And to the NSS admin....how about splitting the convention, one inside the infected area and one outside... or just calling off the one in Colorado?? Dont take a chance...


I would suggest that if you are a conservation minded caver, and from anywhere in North America, you ought to learn how to speak and argue intelligently on the WNS issue. And have fun in Colorado.
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Re: THE NSS AND WNS

Postby nathanroser » May 10, 2011 11:32 am

This place is in general not very friendly to the idea that humans ARE spreading WNS. Humans MAY be spreading WNS but no proof has been made. I would agree that to be cautious you should not transport gear between affected and unaffected caves without doing decon, but being properly informed and following the right practices one can continue to cave without risking being a vector.
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Re: THE NSS AND WNS

Postby Cheryl Jones » May 10, 2011 1:33 pm

RSteve503 wrote: and there seems to be no way to contact the forum folks to get this fixed.

:roll: On the Cavechat home page, scroll to the bottom and see

Having a problem?
Contact - Site Admin

Click on the link.

:off topic:
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Re: THE NSS AND WNS

Postby Cheryl Jones » May 10, 2011 1:44 pm

RSteve503 wrote:If the NSS really wants to stop the spread of WNS, they would tell all members to CAVE LOCALLY for a year or two...dont take a chance on some caver going to the convention, and bringing WNS to that region.


How about checking your facts before preaching and opining?

The Convention is telling cavers to leave their caving gear at home and use the loaner gear that will be supplied by the Convention and CO cavers.

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Re: THE NSS AND WNS

Postby Chads93GT » May 10, 2011 2:40 pm

I was planning on driving my tahoe through one of the local caves with a 70' wide entrance to go mudding. Probably wont wash it, then head straight to colorado for the convention, slingin roosters all the way there on I70. I will leave my cave gear at home so its ok, I wont transmit WNS because I am not actually going caving...........I just hope I dont get stuckin the cave. Im not sure I will be able to call AAA to pull me out in there.
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Re: THE NSS AND WNS

Postby David Grimes » May 10, 2011 5:17 pm

If our new poster is who I think he is (which I am fairly confident he is) then I am surprised by his comments. From your comments I would almost suspect someone is pretending to be this person.

RSteve I have to agree with the others. It appears you did not do your research before posting here. Without attacking you I will say I feel your views are completely misguided. We do care about the caves and all the cave inhabitants including bats. Like noted earlier in this thread, loaner gear from the area will be used.
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Re: THE NSS AND WNS

Postby wyandottecaver » May 10, 2011 6:53 pm

Steve,

I am going to presume you are sincere in your concern and are truthful in your account. I will give you an answer, then explain why.

I understand your logic. I argued much the same in 2009 when we advertised a pre-Convention trip to known WNS caves in NY and then a stop in KY and ending in a combined National Convention and World Congress afterwards in Texas. Based on what we knew at the time, I still think it was unwise.

But this is 2011. The sky didn't fall after Texas, and we have a lot more data now.

Your presumption of human transmission, is just that, but I'll play along. In fact, I will go farther. Lets presume that no human enters any cave, anywhere in North America, for any reason whatsoever for the next 5 years. WNS will still spread just as far and kill just as many bats as it will under the current conditions.

Why? Because the one thing everyone agrees on is that bats DO carry WNS and they will keep going in caves, keep migrating, and keep spreading it to every environment and every bat that is susceptible. WNS, like all epidemics, wildlife and human, will keep spreading until 1) there aren't any susceptible hosts left or 2) there aren't any carriers left. A new epicenter, whether human or bat caused, means exactly zero in the final result.

Let's then contrast my first scenario with another: Lets presume (these are all contradicted by actual scientific evidence by the way) that every caver caves wherever they want with no precautions or no decon and EVERY person who enters a cave is carrying GD and that EVERY cave they enter is infected. WNS will still spread just as far and kill just as many bats as it will under the current conditions. Why? You guessed it, bats.

WNS might be stopped by a warm or dry environment. It might be stopped by western species not susecptible to it. But short of killing enough infected bats to keep them from reaching uninfected ones, and blasting shut every infected cave, it won't be stopped by ANYTHING people do.

Now, as for the bulk of your post.

Asking a "doctor" about bat biology, WNS, cave management, USFWS policy, and caving is like asking a "mechanic" about fixing the Space Shuttle. They might have heard some of the big words, and even understand some basic concepts, heck maybe they even read wikipedia....But that doesn't mean they have any clue about the actual situation and I'm sure YOU wouldn't want to take a shuttle ride based just on their expertise if a problem arose.

You should try and get better sources. I recommend the NSS WNS page that has not just info from us, but links to virtually every organization involved. I would also recommend BCI, an organization devoted to bat conservation.

In the meantime, how about someone with a BS in Wildlife Biology, a MS Thesis on the Endangered Species Act, and work experiance as a State DNR Caves Specialist and Property Manager of a major Indiana Bat hibernacula....That would be me.

WNS is indeed behaving like a typical epidemic...a wildlife epidemic not a human one by the way, and they do behave differently. More to the point, it is premature at best to say it is "dying out"....just ask North Carolina, Indiana, and Kentucky....all new states this year. The far west record in Oklahoma doesn't count..at least yet. A single individual *might* have been infected, but the hibernacula it was found in so far hasn't been...a year later.

The presumption that a tourist brought WNS to New York is just that. It is also possible that a BAT brought it there. Indeed observational evidence suggests thats becoming more and more likely a cause.

You are entirely correct that agencies are managing people vs bats because thats what they know and it's simply easier and most of all MUCH cheaper. They could in fact manage bats too if they chose too, but that would be neither easy or cheap.

Cavers in Region 2 of the USFS aren't necessarily screwed. First, caving is going on in other FS Regions that are closed under approved permits (I have one). Second, the FS like every other Federal Agency will do what Congressmen tell them, and cavers aren't without influence there. More importantly, western agencies are FAR more dependent on cavers to actually provide them with data about caves.
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Re: THE NSS AND WNS

Postby BrianC » May 10, 2011 7:27 pm

:rofl:
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Re: THE NSS AND WNS

Postby BrianC » May 11, 2011 11:22 am

BrianC wrote::rofl:


It is obvious that this guy received his information from the media outlets, and I can say that from what he has stated because of what the media outlets have stated. I can't blame him! We all know that his assumptions are just that, and that information gained from the NSS is only going to give him a middle of the fence answer. What everyone here doesn't know, is that the NSS will stay on the fence on this issue, so why do you think the media states their assumptions as facts?

Do you need a more direct answer for what I am saying? Peter, do you want to chime in?
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Re: THE NSS AND WNS

Postby Extremeophile » May 11, 2011 1:28 pm

The USFWS are assuming that people may spread the disease - without proof. It's a hypothesis that has now been mistakenly taken as fact by many land managers, the media, etc.

Making the argument that people can not possibly spread the disease is another hypothesis that has also not been proven. I certainly hope this is correct, but unfortunately the issue hasn't been resolved. An opinion that people don't spread the disease, without evidence, doesn't cancel an opinion that people do spread the disease. What is needed is more research, but when people become convinced that their opinion is factual, then they start to see research as a waste of time and money. We need more objectivity from those on both sides of the fence and a willingness to seek the "truth".
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Re: THE NSS AND WNS

Postby MUD » May 11, 2011 2:41 pm

I think what we need to do is let good ol Mama Nature do her thing while we keep on caving. Its certainly been proven that moratoriums and decon does nothing to prevent the spread.

As soon as agencies, managers and $$$ are involved.... :doh:
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THE NSS AND WNS

Postby Ernie Coffman » May 11, 2011 2:53 pm

Well, Steve, you've come into the national limelight, once again, and you see how the folks west of the Oregon border feel about your thoughts. :clap: In all of these thoughts and comments, I believe wyandottecaver hit it more on the head, so that all of us can understand his thoughts. :waving: That's not to say that anyone else, who has written, is wrong or anything like that.

As for this comment, "And decontamination of gear? An associate who is a doctor tells me that it wont work, as it will not achieve surgical sterility. Its a placebo.
that is probably very true! But, you're indicating that you're accepting the knowledge of one person then; and, in the scientific world--You are one yourself, right? A scientist, that is--would you accept all hypothesis to be fact, just from one individual. :yikes:

As for this comment,
If you are a conservation-minded caver, and from a WNS infected area.....you will not attend that convention. And to the NSS admin....how about splitting the convention, one inside the infected area and one outside... or just calling off the one in Colorado?? Dont take a chance...
You and I...and all the rest of the folks in the NSS, I would believe, know that isn't a strong possibility. First of all, the convention has been worked on for several years and financially, a disaster for those folks putting it on. You know that for sure! :doh: As for "splitting the convention, one inside the infected area and one outside," do you know what headaches that could and would cause...even if there were two areas that would take on the problem? It's difficult enough, now, getting grottos and regions to step up to the plate, in putting on a convention. Most of those individuals have given up caving for a year or more, because of the amount of business, planning, and labor it takes to put on such an event. Maybe we should go back to conventions in hotels, etc. away from any caving areas, to implement your thoughts. That might be the only solution...but, today's cavers probably wouldn't want to attend those kinds of conventions...unfortunately! Or, in the case of WNS, fortunately! It might accomplish what you were suggesting. :shrug:

:cave softly:

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