update WNS maps

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Re: update WNS maps

Postby wyandottecaver » Jan 13, 2012 5:56 pm

Indiana is better off than most states in terms of a baseline. our Indiana bat surveys were conducted for over 20 years (until USFWS recently decided only people in tan shirts can count) by essentially the same principle people and they did count and record other species when observed.

Digital looks great on paper and I do think it will become a better tool. However, making sure your matching the pictures together right to avoid recounting or under counting and hoping the seasonal interns or the computer algorithims used to "count noses" get it right are issues. For caves with lower numbers and lower ceilings its actually faster to do it the old way.

I think most of the reluctance about numbers is that we never really knew how many bats there are/were even in a general sense. and we really have no idea how many have died other than what is missing from known sites. Plus, from a strictly biological standpoint its a waste of time to try and guess a number you know is wrong, and unlike a trend number cant really be used for anything besides headlines.

The I bat surveys were really just trends even though there is a number. The *estimates* are for *known* caves. Some people will say that we knew most of the main caves used....maybe in the NE. In Indiana there are at least 2 caves not on the survey list with significant numbers of bats that no one wants the USFWS to know about. My guess is there are plenty more people havent told me.
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Re: update WNS maps

Postby BrianC » Jan 14, 2012 12:20 pm

Peter, you continue to allure to funding being the reason any bat research is conducted. Is BCI only able to conduct work by funding? Does no group exist that conducts bat research without funding? Private entities loving bats don't exist? All this just leads to more questions than answers, and precludes that any statistics would potentially being swayed by the money! Sorry, but when I am told (demanded) how to act, breath, and conduct myself, I want to know why! Is that too much to ask? :waving:
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Re: update WNS maps

Postby hewhocaves » Jan 20, 2012 12:08 pm

wyandottecaver wrote: (until USFWS recently decided only people in tan shirts can count)


Its true! I used to always wear tan shirts to math class....

and then one day i wore it inside out and counted backwards!
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Re: update WNS maps

Postby BrianC » Jan 20, 2012 1:01 pm

hewhocaves wrote:
wyandottecaver wrote: (until USFWS recently decided only people in tan shirts can count)


Its true! I used to always wear tan shirts to math class....

and then one day i wore it inside out and counted backwards!


I thought that would only get the Root of the number?
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Re: update WNS maps

Postby JD » Jan 23, 2012 2:13 pm

One of the local NGOs recently was bragging about how many caves they collectively checked for WNS last year, some 40 some-odd sites.

That was almost as many as I personally visited and examined all by my lonesome last year...not on anyone's clock. Though I admit I was examining mostly for cultural resources I cetainly noted bats and numbers and species. So I can report 40+ caves wth NO SIGN of WNS. So between the both of us we examined almost 100 caves last year. Only 9000+ more in my state alone...

Somehow that doesn't add up to 5.7 million dead bats, which is an unsubstantiated and very suspect number, but the dissemination of actual data seems to not be on the radar for the USFWS.

Anyway, the agency people in Tennessee are counting in caves again last week and this...which is way too late, as the weather here is so mild now many bats will be out and about today. What happened here (If I can read between the lines of Peter's post) is that the counters did not find the large numbers of WNS infected bats they expected, but rather than accept the fact their expecations were WRONG they claimed it was a methodological error and they "missed" a lot of WNS bats by counting early in the season, so now they want to count them later. I predict the same results, less WNS than they expect. When, though, will they correct their theories based on data rather than loking for data to bolster their weak theories?

What we need are real numbers for specific cave sites, broken down by species. We also need the pre-WNS data. Keeping county-only maps is ridiculous. Who, exactly, are they trying to keep the data from? They can use non-identifiable names, like Archeologists use Unnamed Cave #12, if they are worried about specific locations.

We need to know 1. which caves are infected 2. what the pre-WNS population was for each site and 3. the methodology used to deterrmine pre-WNS populations and 4. the current counts. It would also help bolster the very suspicious 5.7 million number if we could get 5. a percentage of caves which have had 100% die-off. Like, in State A, 13 of the 19 sites have 100% mortality. The USFWS keeps stressing the 100% sites, but there are several states where not a single WNS site has anything LIKE 100% mortality - think KY. and Tenn. Real science involves releasing the data so others can double check the work. All I see is a reluctance to release real information. Did you read the USFWS Press Release on 5.7 million - an almost fact free statement posing as science. Or else release the minutes from the meeting where they came up with this dubious number.

Perhaps none of the 100 % mortality sites have recovered, but what about all the other sites? What about the site where ONE bat was found with WNS, MMmmn? Has it recovered? There are no WNS bats there currently. But there are healthy bats. Shouldn't it be taken off the map?

Unlike some of the posters here, I don't see WNS as a money-cow - scientists know better than to go into biology if they want bucks - they can go into weapons industries if they are just doing it for money. But caves are far too important to leave public policy to bat biologists, who are myopic and concerned only with one aspect of the cave environment. At a minimum, we need to see the data and double check their work. Then we can argue over policy. But for them to not release data is unacceptable.

Brian, perhaps you should file a FOI request from USFWS for the raw data. While some federally owned caves are not covered by it, every private, state owned, or federal cave not listed as significant IS covered and that data collected by USWFS will have to be released. Normally scientists publish their data. But perhaps J. Coleman and others involved in this feel their science is so weak it can not pass peer review. Based on the USFWS Press Release I suspect they don't HAVE real data on pre-WNS numbers, which means they are just making up the 5.7 million figure. Normally I don't want to see policy made on the basis of invented numbers no-one can check.
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Re: update WNS maps

Postby tncaver » Jan 24, 2012 10:14 am

Well said Joe (AKA JD).
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Re: update WNS maps

Postby BrianC » Jan 24, 2012 3:25 pm

Hey Joe! I am simply asking for the information available to be included and mapped, just as you want. I also have been very intimidating to any one whom agrees with many actions of the USFWS. If I can make known what is wrong with the White Nose Syndrome cave closure orders, Then I have done my job. I don't know of one single caver that believes closing caves will make any difference, near or long term, toward the inevitability of bats sustainability. A few have tried unsuccessfully to silence me, through all the usual methods, and variable threats. I have been a thorn in the eyes of those that do use environmental issues for profit and or selfish righteousness. Some might ask if I am being selfish?, Not at all, I want ALL people to enjoy nature and experience it in person. We teach conservation for inevitable long term usage of the population, not just a select few. :cave softly:
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Re: update WNS maps

Postby wyandottecaver » Jan 24, 2012 7:19 pm

OK Ill bite.....

1st...just because you, a NGO, or some drunkard stumbled in a cave and counted stuff doesnt mean anything. Even if you do in fact know the species (some do, some think they do,some havent a clue), the surveys have to follow a consistent and standard system of timing and counting to be meaningful and be comparable.

2nd...saying you didn't see any sign of WNS means you didnt see anything you thought was WNS. Which really means nothing. Again, without a consistent methodology your vote just doesnt count.

3rd....you werent reading between the lines of what peter said you were reading a different language. The surveys were moved later (as peter said) because WNS gets easier to detect as you get later in the hibernation period. that isnt a theory but a proven fact.

4th...I do agree that reality and USFWS statements tend to be unrelated

5th...as others have said, much of the specific and detailed data you want simply does not exist. Also secretive cavers, you should understand why they wouldnt want to make public some data on what caves and sites contain large concentrations of bats....not everyone is as bat friendly as we would hope.

6th....Only the USFWS believes the numbers they released, and I doubt they believe them in private. Peter made them cough up a number so they did :tonguecheek:
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Re: update WNS maps

Postby tncaver » Jan 24, 2012 8:20 pm

Only the USFWS believes the numbers they released, and I doubt they believe them in private. Peter made them cough up a number so they did

Too bad that happened. Anyone can pick a number out of the sky. And it seems the sky is the limit.
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Re: update WNS maps

Postby BrianC » Jan 24, 2012 8:20 pm

wyandottecaver wrote:OK Ill bite.....

1st...just because you, a NGO, or some drunkard stumbled in a cave and counted stuff doesnt mean anything. Even if you do in fact know the species (some do, some think they do,some havent a clue), the surveys have to follow a consistent and standard system of timing and counting to be meaningful and be comparable.

2nd...saying you didn't see any sign of WNS means you didnt see anything you thought was WNS. Which really means nothing. Again, without a consistent methodology your vote just doesnt count.


Todd, I know that some who think, only they have the ability to see through walls, but I also know that there are many cavers fully capable of determining if a bat has WNS, whom are not park Rangers. Your statement belittles cavers with much to offer, without regards to real credibility! Do you know exactly where the caves are, that have been checked? Don't you think that cavers can and do help in the WNS scenario without the necessities of monetary compensation? Cavers have a real interest in caves, that most biologists only care about certain aspects of. :roll:
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Re: update WNS maps

Postby wyandottecaver » Jan 24, 2012 8:50 pm

Brian,

I didnt say cavers cant count, determine species, or think. Many cavers actually have participated in STRUCTURED WNS studies and counts. I said that without following a standardized and consistent methodology their efforts are wasted and cant be relied on. 1 guy saying he checked 40 caves means 1 guy says he saw 40 caves..and nothing else at all.

As for determining WNS...only a lab can do that. We can make guesses based on behaviour or white fuzz but none of that actually counts either. In fact, there is a good case of a "park ranger" mis-identifying a bat as WNS based on sight alone, and several cases of white fuzzy bats acting weird that were not WNS.
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Re: update WNS maps

Postby tncaver » Jan 24, 2012 9:03 pm

wyandottecaver wrote:As for determining WNS...only a lab can do that. We can make guesses based on behaviour or white fuzz but none of that actually counts either. In fact, there is a good case of a "park ranger" mis-identifying a bat as WNS based on sight alone, and several cases of white fuzzy bats acting weird that were not WNS.


It seems the park rangers must be mis-identifying a LOT then. Obviously cavers aren't, since they are not allowed in park ranger caves.
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