Good WNS News from New York

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Good WNS News from New York

Postby PYoungbaer » Apr 19, 2012 6:38 pm

Bat surveys in New York show recovering bat populations:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/energy-environment/apnewsbreak-bat-populations-rebound-in-ny-caves-first-struck-by-deadly-white-nose-syndrome/2012/04/19/gIQAz4iZTT_story.html

P.S. Your NSS WNS Rapid Response Fund is covering the Czech Republic portion of the research project described in the article.
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Re: Good WNS News from New York

Postby DeanWiseman » Apr 19, 2012 6:50 pm

:bananabat:

Fingers crossed!


-Dean
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Re: Good WNS News from New York

Postby NZcaver » Apr 19, 2012 7:12 pm

I was caving in upstate NY a couple of days ago, in a cave which is open for visitation (obviously) and is also known to harbor a small bat population.

Clearly this is proof that cavers continuing to cave responsibly are helping the bat population recover. :waving:
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Re: Good WNS News from New York

Postby BrianC » Apr 19, 2012 8:44 pm

NZcaver wrote:I was caving in upstate NY a couple of days ago, in a cave which is open for visitation (obviously) and is also known to harbor a small bat population.

Clearly this is proof that cavers continuing to cave responsibly are helping the bat population recover. :waving:


Can you elaborate on this statement? It appears that you are speaking about staying out of caves or Decon?
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Re: Good WNS News from New York

Postby NZcaver » Apr 19, 2012 9:57 pm

BrianC wrote:
NZcaver wrote:I was caving in upstate NY a couple of days ago, in a cave which is open for visitation (obviously) and is also known to harbor a small bat population.

Clearly this is proof that cavers continuing to cave responsibly are helping the bat population recover. :waving:


Can you elaborate on this statement? It appears that you are speaking about staying out of caves or Decon?

Sorry Brian, my tongue-in-cheek comment was badly worded. I was trying to insinuate this good news is as much a result of people continuing to go caving responsibly as not continuing to go caving. By "responsible cavers" I primarily meant those who don't vandalize caves or violate specific closures, etc. I'll leave the pros and cons of decon out of this one. :wink:

Hopefully it's not to premature to celebrate, but I think we can agree this looks like good news all around.
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Re: Good WNS News from New York

Postby tncaver » Apr 20, 2012 7:32 am

The article also blamed cavers with the following statement: "Scientists recently confirmed that white-nose fungus hitchhiked from Europe, possibly on the boots or clothes of a well-traveled caver."

Once again this unacceptable and unsubstantiated claim is being thrust upon the public. It is equally possible that a bat hitchhiked to the US from
Europe via an ocean liner, cargo ship or airplane as has been verified by the Center for Disease Control. Yet this possibility was not mentioned. It
irks me that cavers are continually being blamed for something there is no proof of. Frankly, it seems there is more proof of the translocation theory
than that of humans being a vector. IMHO of course. Recent experiments have shown that WNS is not spread by being in close proximity to infected
bats. It appears that actual contact must be made. The quantity of infected matter required to spread the disease is yet to be determined. My personal
observations here in TN are that humans are not likely a vector due to the huge number of cavers that visit this state from all over the country yet
the number of verified cases of WNS in TN is small compared to the Northeast where the disease was first detected. It is already proven without
a doubt, LIVE BATS ARE A VECTOR for WNS.
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Re: Good WNS News from New York

Postby Cheryl Jones » Apr 20, 2012 8:53 am

P.S. Your NSS WNS Rapid Response Fund is covering the Czech Republic portion of the research project described in the article.


Donate here: http://caves.org/WNS/Rapid_Response.shtml :bananabat:
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Re: Good WNS News from New York

Postby BrianC » Apr 20, 2012 11:39 am

Cheryl Jones wrote:
P.S. Your NSS WNS Rapid Response Fund is covering the Czech Republic portion of the research project described in the article.


Donate here: http://caves.org/WNS/Rapid_Response.shtml :bananabat:


It does appear that our bats are forming a similar resistance as have our European counterparts. This brings me back to what I have stated numerous times before,("leave the bats alone, mother Nature will take care of itself") I am for no research funding aiming at killing the fungus in caves period,because of the vast numbers of other inhabitants in the cave ecosystem. I do how ever see an understanding of what the fungus is (which we do now know) was understandable for learning. We need no further research that would require federal funding.
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Re: Good WNS News from New York

Postby Extremeophile » Apr 20, 2012 3:43 pm

BrianC wrote:
Cheryl Jones wrote:
P.S. Your NSS WNS Rapid Response Fund is covering the Czech Republic portion of the research project described in the article.


Donate here: http://caves.org/WNS/Rapid_Response.shtml :bananabat:


It does appear that our bats are forming a similar resistance as have our European counterparts. This brings me back to what I have stated numerous times before,("leave the bats alone, mother Nature will take care of itself") I am for no research funding aiming at killing the fungus in caves period,because of the vast numbers of other inhabitants in the cave ecosystem. I do how ever see an understanding of what the fungus is (which we do now know) was understandable for learning. We need no further research that would require federal funding.

While I tend to agree that the use of anti-fungal agents might have unintended negative impacts, I would leave the specifics to the experts. I think we're a long way from understanding everything there is to know to best manage the disease. I see federal WNS research funding as using public money for the good of the public, and therefore support continued if not enhanced federal support of research. What we don't need is additional funding to police poorly considered and counterproductive cave closure policies.
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Re: Good WNS News from New York

Postby wyandottecaver » Apr 20, 2012 3:56 pm

Not to rain on anyones parade, but while this is feel-good news, it does NOT show a recovering bat population (note the statewide decline was still around 90%). There is no way that cave gained 1000 new bats just from natural recovery. Most likely those were "nice" caves to begin with and now they have room for bats from elsewhere to trade up in accomodations. It is encouraging that they seem to have better wing damage scores...but remember this was a very mild winter for much of the country. So yes, it is nice news, but hardly evidence of either recovery or resistance.
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Re: Good WNS News from New York

Postby Jon » Apr 22, 2012 12:12 am

I have to agree with tncaver, I'm a bit ticked off with the line of logic that seems to be going around. If you follow their train of thought, a well traveled "caver" more than likely is not hitting commercial caves.* Now a tourist who visited a cave there and here is more likely, but still not so much so. Now if you want to play the blame the human game ..... duh it would be far more likely that a researcher crossed the pond and didn't decon for something he or she didn't know about. Said researcher would more than likely have closer and or longer contact including DIRECT contact. But we can't blame the tourist, we want their money, can't even think about blaming the researchers (ok go easy here) as some NEVER screw up. Now my opinion is that maybe, just maybe, (again go easy here folks) some people might just like it better if caves were their personal playgrounds which would be better off without cavers. I always get suspicious when words like "confirmed" and "may" or "probably" get used together. Now I realize that there are some rare instances where those combinations of words "may" indicate something other than "confirmed" double speak. The previous sentence is "probably" a good example.

*
Think about it, if you crossed the pond and went caving over there would you pack dirty caving clothes, fly back and then hit a commercial cave in those same dirty clothes? Or if you were from across the pond would you go caving, pack dirty clothes, fly over here, put on your dirty caving clothes and visit a commercial cave? Now it is my understanding that bat researchers NOW (at least the good ones) are deconing anything that comes in contact with a bat before they allow it to contact another bat. It is my understanding that this was not the case BEFORE WNS. So It would certainly appear that if you want to play the blame the human game, researchers would be at the top of the list of maybe, probably confirmed human vectors.
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Re: Good WNS News from New York

Postby driggs » Apr 23, 2012 10:14 am

wyandottecaver wrote:Not to rain on anyones parade, but while this is feel-good news, it does NOT show a recovering bat population (note the statewide decline was still around 90%). There is no way that cave gained 1000 new bats just from natural recovery. Most likely those were "nice" caves to begin with and now they have room for bats from elsewhere to trade up in accomodations. It is encouraging that they seem to have better wing damage scores...but remember this was a very mild winter for much of the country. So yes, it is nice news, but hardly evidence of either recovery or resistance.


Yup, it takes two adult bats one year to produce one pup. So even if every single bat in that cave of 1496 "did their part", there would still be 200 new bats unaccounted for.

I've done bat counts on the "fringe" of WNS infection the past two years, and have observed caves with increased population prior to WNS arrival or during the first-year infection. I attribute it to either bats fleeing other hibernacula to escape the horror, or to WNS-related disturbance driving bats out of inaccessible areas where they wouldn't otherwise be counted. A single-year increase of a hibernaculum's count as high as reported in this story (60% increase!) hints at something causing bats to be excluded from another hibernaculum; possibly WNS itself, possibly something else.

I agree with wyandottecaver, this report is great news, but not enough data to infer any sort of recovery yet. I'd sure love to see reports like this one become a continuing trend though!
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Re: Good WNS News from New York

Postby PYoungbaer » Apr 23, 2012 11:23 am

Re: Good News reports: This is clearly a change from the past several years in the epicenter area of WNS. From the Fort Drum, NY study that documented births for two successive years from bats that recovered from WNS, to similar reports from Vermont and New Jersey, this is a sign of hope. We have one colony in the Adirondacks that exploded to over 5,000 bats, mostly all Little Browns - definitely not attributable to births.

However, the fact that this latest report is from the NY ground zero sites shows that the bats are returning to roosts they favored. Where were they in the meantime?

Quite a few people hypothesized that the decline in Big Brown numbers was not necessarily die-off, but this species choosing non-cave and mine sites because they have a higher tolerance for outside temperatures than the other species. This seemed to correlate with the summer acoustical monitoring that showed them to be well-represented on the summer landscape, which was not the case for the Little Browns. Perhaps this dynamic was also in play for the Little Browns to an extent we didn't anticipate or understand.

There hasn't been sufficient research to determine whether the bats are resilient, resistant, or both. And the jury is certainly still out on whether we can even reasonably expect any recovery to previous population levels, or whether a new equilibrium between the host bats and the fungal pathogen will find a new, lower plateau.

It goes to show that we still have a lot to learn about these creatures, but this is another good sign in a series of good news reports.
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Re: Good WNS News from New York

Postby wyandottecaver » Apr 24, 2012 4:57 pm

Well we can hope.
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Re: Good WNS News from New York

Postby PYoungbaer » Apr 27, 2012 9:19 am

Here's a good video news story by the Albany NY CBS affiliate shot at ground zero for WNS - the non-commercial Howe's Cave. It features the original photos taken by caver and hydrologist Paul Rubin back in 2006.

It also is notable for underscoring that this is NOT the commercial section, Howe Caverns, erroneously perpetuated in literally hundreds of media stories and Internet blogs, where "tourists" or "cavers" supposedly brought spores from Europe. Note that the cave is wading stream passage, typical of many caves in the area, and not at all conducive to anyone leaving spores behind. And there are no tourists, and very few visitors at all. In the background of the interview footage with NYDEC's Carl Herzog, you can see the cyclone fence that marks the boundary of the active limestone quarry. Far in the background is the active face of the quarry, and the resurgence of the cave stream that marks the entrance to Howe's Cave, where these bats are found.

Here's the link: http://www.cbs6albany.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_663.shtml?wap=0
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