Oklahoma and Cave Myotis removed from P.d Positive.

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Oklahoma and Cave Myotis removed from P.d Positive.

Postby bigredfoote » May 6, 2014 8:19 pm

I'm not a subscriber and I can't find the official press release anywhere yet, but here is the headline:

http://thecollinsvillenews.com/news/okl ... f887a.html
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Re: Oklahoma and Cave Myotis removed from P.d Positive.

Postby Scott McCrea » May 6, 2014 8:37 pm

Hmm, wasn't that was the one that fueled the "jump" conspiracy?
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Re: Oklahoma and Cave Myotis removed from P.d Positive.

Postby John Lovaas » May 6, 2014 8:41 pm

Weird. I recall part of the brouhaha at the time was that the specimen/sample was destroyed after testing. Now it's back!
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Re: Oklahoma and Cave Myotis removed from P.d Positive.

Postby John Lovaas » May 7, 2014 7:44 am

Reading through previous posts- USGS in Madison tested the bat(follow URL), and agency and NSS representatives were under the impression the bat was destroyed afterwards.

viewtopic.php?f=58&t=14750&p=124976&hilit=Oklahoma#p125089
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Re: Oklahoma and Cave Myotis removed from P.d Positive.

Postby bigredfoote » May 7, 2014 8:22 am

Yep, that's what I had been told by people who had "talked directly to the people at the lab". There was a lot of confused shock on the phone call that the bat was the same one.

Once again, I'm struggling for nice words to say.
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Re: Oklahoma and Cave Myotis removed from P.d Positive.

Postby bigredfoote » May 7, 2014 9:01 am

May 6, 2014

A service of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife
Conservation



OKLAHOMA REMOVED FROM LIST OF SUSPECTED BAT FUNGUS
AREAS


After re-examining an Oklahoma bat specimen
originally tested in 2010, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey


National Wildlife Health Center have dropped Oklahoma from the list of areas
where White-Nose Syndrome in bats has been suspected or confirmed.



The scientists have also removed the Cave Myotis


(Myotis velifer) from the list of bat species that have tested positive for
the fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans) that has been associated with
White-Nose Syndrome, which since 2006 has killed millions of hibernating

bats primarily in the eastern United States and Canada.

The Oklahoma specimen was collected in a private
Woodward County cave in May 2010, and at the time appeared to have the

fungus. While original test results were positive for the fungus associated
with White-Nose Syndrome, new testing procedures have revealed the bat was
not infected with the fungus and did not show characteristic lesions.


Five bats tested from that private cave in 2010-11,
along with 81 swabs from that cave and surrounding caves taken in 2013-14,
failed to show the presence of the fungus. This monitoring will continue in

24 caves across the state.

Shortly after the suspected case of White-Nose
Syndrome, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation created the
Oklahoma Bat Coordinating Team, composed of at least 20 entities that have
direct bat and cave management responsibilities. The team created a
communication plan involving scientific cooperators, interested parties,
stakeholders and user groups on bat and cave management, bat research and
bat diseases in Oklahoma. The team has been active in creating the state's
White-Nose Syndrome Response Plan and participating in disease surveillance
work in multiple cave systems in Oklahoma.

Wildlife Department biologists commended the U.S.
Geological Survey National Wildlife Heath Center's continued efforts to
ensure accuracy and transparency in diagnostic results.



For more information on White-Nose Syndrome, visit
whitenosesyndrome.org. For general information about bats including a "Bats


of Oklahoma Field Guide," visit wildlifedepartment.com.

- 30 -

News Contacts: Don P. Brown or Micah Holmes (405)


521-4632

Website: www.wildlifedepartment.com

E-mail: info@odwc.state.ok.us




This program receives federal assistance from the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and thus prohibits discrimination on the
basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and sex
(gender), pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (as
amended), Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Age
Discrimination Act of 1975, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,
and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. To request an
accommodation or informational material in an alternative format, please
contact the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation by calling (405)
521-3855. If you believe you have been discriminated against in any program,
activity, or service, please contact U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, Attention: Civil Rights
Coordinator for Public Access, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203.
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Re: Oklahoma and Cave Myotis removed from P.d Positive.

Postby bigredfoote » May 7, 2014 10:29 am

Here is a link to the case review letter.

https://www.whitenosesyndrome.org/sites ... 014_0.docx
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Re: Oklahoma and Cave Myotis removed from P.d Positive.

Postby Extremeophile » May 7, 2014 12:01 pm

Unlike the Oklahoma DOWC, I would not commend the USGS-National Wildlife Health Center. They issued a false positive result that was primarily responsible for widespread cave closures in the west that damaged relationships and inhibited bat research. They lied about the disposition of the bat sample, fiercely defended the infallibility of their techniques and results, and took four years to get off their asses and fix the obvious error. I don't believe in conspiracy theories and plots by the government. I do however believe in gross incompetence. At a minimum someone needs to lose their job over this.
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Re: Oklahoma and Cave Myotis removed from P.d Positive.

Postby trogman » May 7, 2014 12:28 pm

Extremeophile wrote:Unlike the Oklahoma DOWC, I would not commend the USGS-National Wildlife Health Center. They issued a false positive result that was primarily responsible for widespread cave closures in the west that damaged relationships and inhibited bat research. They lied about the disposition of the bat sample, fiercely defended the infallibility of their techniques and results, and took four years to get off their asses and fix the obvious error. I don't believe in conspiracy theories and plots by the government. I do however believe in gross incompetence. At a minimum someone needs to lose their job over this.


:yeah that: :agree:

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Re: Oklahoma and Cave Myotis removed from P.d Positive.

Postby PYoungbaer » May 7, 2014 1:57 pm

This is a major development. I applaud Jen's quick posting of USGS Director Sleeman's letter. USGS has some egg on its face on this one, especially as we are all aware of the hyperbolic response wildlife management agencies had to this news.

Extremophile, while cavers speculated as to the destruction of the original carcass, I was never able to confirm that, and to this day can only attribute it to speculation. Have been to the USGS lab, and knowing their personnel involved in WNS investigations and their strict protocols, I would have been tremendously surprised if such had ever been the case. Thus, I don't believe it's fair to say they lied.

Back to the hyperbole, Extremophile, more than most others in the country, worked for years to clean up the hyperbolic response from the U.S.Forest Service in his region. USFS clearly cited this Oklahoma bat as the justification for their initial closure action, and this caused tremendous headaches and much ill will. Apologies would certainly be in order.

Further, the physical location of the Oklahoma County caused many bat biologists and other advocates to use the phrase "WNS has now reached halfway across the country," which bred even more media hype and public reaction. This was wrong. And the hyperbole continues today. Look at the Missouri WNS map, where county after county have been marked off as suspect or confirmed for the fungus. And yet, to date, there is only documentation of a single animal death in Missouri. The impression intentionally given is far larger.

I am actually a little impressed and amazed that USGS felt the pressure to re-examine this bat, and appreciative that they publicly acknowledge their error. Unfortunately, they are not the wildlife managers who acted upon that original news, and have no authority to affect any management change as a result of the corrected findings. That will take our continued advocacy - but the door has been opened.

Still paying attention,

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Re: Oklahoma and Cave Myotis removed from P.d Positive.

Postby Extremeophile » May 7, 2014 2:55 pm

PYoungbaer wrote: while cavers speculated as to the destruction of the original carcass, I was never able to confirm that, and to this day can only attribute it to speculation. Have been to the USGS lab, and knowing their personnel involved in WNS investigations and their strict protocols, I would have been tremendously surprised if such had ever been the case. Thus, I don't believe it's fair to say they lied.

I'm pretty certain that I had seen non-caver sources that claimed the bat was destroyed. I also know I've been on calls with agency people where this was discussed and not disputed. I don't recall it being the subject of speculation. While the USGS incompetence is not yet "confirmed", I think we can classify it as "presumptive positive". I don't know the specifics of PCR analysis, but it certainly was being portrayed as foolproof. What were the odds of a false positive ... one in a million? Is this a case of beating the odds, or was there some other mishandling of the sample or analytical results?
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Re: Oklahoma and Cave Myotis removed from P.d Positive.

Postby Scott McCrea » May 7, 2014 4:07 pm

PYoungbaer wrote:Apologies would certainly be in order.

I believe this would do a lot of good. Admitting mistakes, assumptions and failed policies could bring some of their shattered credibility back.
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Re: Oklahoma and Cave Myotis removed from P.d Positive.

Postby bigredfoote » May 7, 2014 7:16 pm

I'd settle for actual honest communications.
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Re: Oklahoma and Cave Myotis removed from P.d Positive.

Postby Extremeophile » May 7, 2014 9:04 pm

Can we now expect the USFWS to enthusiastically announce that the disease is receding? But then they might credit cave closure policies for the sudden retreat of the fungus.
You'll have to forgive the sarcasm, but I'm a little bitter since I've brought up the incongruities with the OK bat a few times with the agencies, and I was always made to feel that I was introducing my bias for cave access and not objectively accepting the data.
I don't expect this realization to change any existing policies at this point. Hopefully it can be used to emphasize to land managers going forward that there's a real meaningful difference between "suspected" and "confirmed", and they should make policies accordingly.
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Re: Oklahoma and Cave Myotis removed from P.d Positive.

Postby tncaver » May 8, 2014 8:16 am

What was that I was saying about ex-sperts a year or two ago? Seems to apply here. (Creative license used in the spelling of the word experts)

I think if Extremeophile doesn't believe in conspiracy theories, he needs to spend some time in Washington D.C.
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