Fungus serious threat to North American bats

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Re: Fungus serious threat to NE bats

Postby PYoungbaer » Mar 3, 2009 12:17 pm

Here's a link to an excellent, in depth, and up-to-date article on WNS. It includes photos from West
Virginia, as well as interviews with some of the current researchers discussing things they shared on the Feb. 20 national webinar on WNS. Participants included over 45 of the university and laboratory researchers, field and management personnel from the USFWS and state agencies, and ngos, such as BCI and the NSS.

http://www.earthfiles.com/news.php?ID=1 ... nvironment

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Fungus serious threat to NE bats

Postby Ernie Coffman » Mar 3, 2009 12:38 pm

That is really an excellent article, Peter! Thanks for sharing. :clap: (this is for your sharing and not for what it's about, although a really dynamic article) :bat sticker:
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Re: Fungus serious threat to NE bats

Postby wyandottecaver » Mar 3, 2009 5:12 pm

Yes, a very good article. I'd like to know if there is any evidence of resistance though. I haven't heard of any. Do we have a known infected bat or one who has for sure been exposed, that has made it through 2 winters?
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Re: Fungus serious threat to NE bats

Postby PYoungbaer » Mar 3, 2009 5:39 pm

None that I am aware of, and it's not the focus of any research at the moment.

Last year, there were several bat rehabilitators who nursed some WNS-affected bats back and released them. There wasn't any attempt to measure resistance against anything, though, as at that time the fungus was still relegated to an opportunistic entity, and not the focus of research on it actually being the cause.

Unless there is a major influx of money for research needed to find the actual cause, research on resistance will take a back seat.

There is one study on creating thermal refugia (hot spots within caves) that is about to be published this month that may provide some insight into at least one survival mechanism. Info is embargoed until publication.

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Re: Fungus serious threat to NE bats

Postby Cheryl Jones » Mar 3, 2009 5:41 pm

I heard her in depth report the other night (very early morning) on Coast to Coast AM.....my favorite radio program. :big grin: I was impressed with the research she'd done and her accuracy.

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Re: Fungus serious threat to NE bats

Postby wyandottecaver » Mar 3, 2009 6:04 pm

About what I thought. Though I would have expected a lot more emphasis on resistance research since apart from the emotional plea of we don't wanna hurt fuzzy critters, a pool of potential resistance such as is alluded to in the article, is one of the main arguments against destroying infected colonies ....but ANY resistance to WNS simply hasn't been shown to my knowledge. Of course the government is well skilled in not asking questions they don't want the answers to :tonguecheek:

My own personal opinion is that if resistance exists at all in affected species...it is at such a low level that those populations will become genetically extinct anyway.

It will be interesting to see the work on thermal refugia since this seems counter-intuitive as a longterm scheme.
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Re: Fungus serious threat to NE bats

Postby stony99 » Mar 4, 2009 8:53 am

wyandottecaver wrote: Of course the government is well skilled in not asking questions they don't want the answers to



You hit the nail on the head! Like if the cause was found to be the bats having an impaired immune system from eating insects that were affected by a new herbicide, pesticide or insecticide, our "government" or researchers would not want to blame an American chemical company in any way.
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Re: Fungus serious threat to NE bats

Postby PYoungbaer » Mar 4, 2009 10:30 am

More bad breaking news from Virginia. Last night VADNH personnel visited Clover Hollow Cave in Giles County, and found numerous dead bats, approximately 200 individuals staged near the entrance of the cave, and evidence of fungus on individual bats, following reports of a bat flying daytime outside in the snow.

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Re: Fungus serious threat to NE bats

Postby Scott McCrea » Mar 4, 2009 11:20 am

The Commonwealth of VA has a conference call with the VSS, DCR, Cave Board, etc. scheduled for tomorrow—a proposed moratorium on all caving in Virginia until April 15 will be discussed.
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Re: Fungus serious threat to NE bats

Postby Carl Amundson » Mar 4, 2009 11:40 am

Scott McCrea wrote:The Commonwealth of VA has a conference call with the VSS, DCR, Cave Board, etc. scheduled for tomorrow—a proposed moratorium on all caving in Virginia until April 15 will be discussed.

Wow, Spring VAR is scheduled for April 24 - 26 at Grand Caverns Va. I wonder how this will effect it.
I ask because my grotto (Tri-State) is hosting it this year.
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Re: Fungus serious threat to NE bats

Postby PYoungbaer » Mar 4, 2009 12:17 pm

In VA's message to the research network, they also urged neighboring states to take action, including consideration of a moratorium on caving. Wouldn't be surprised at all to see additional announcements.

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Re: Fungus serious threat to NE bats

Postby ek » Mar 4, 2009 1:43 pm

stony99 wrote:
wyandottecaver wrote: Of course the government is well skilled in not asking questions they don't want the answers to

You hit the nail on the head! Like if the cause was found to be the bats having an impaired immune system from eating insects that were affected by a new herbicide, pesticide or insecticide, our "government" or researchers would not want to blame an American chemical company in any way.

Considering the numerous instances of human-induced environmental destruction that corporations have been complicit in and which government agencies and researchers funded by government grants have exposed, how would you substantiate this claim?
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Re: Fungus serious threat to NE bats

Postby dfcaver » Mar 4, 2009 3:10 pm

Is there a link available to any agenda for the VA conference call details?
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Re: Fungus serious threat to NE bats

Postby John Chenger » Mar 4, 2009 3:16 pm

Nice trip report....perhaps we'll see WNS in TN this winter after all.




From: caves @ ht cn et. org
Sent: 3/4/2009 11:30:12 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
Subj: FW: WNS appears to be in Clover Hollow Cave

I'm forwarding this to keep all of you informed.

Rick
> -----Original Message-----
> From: cave-club Discussion List [mailto:CAVE- C LUB@lists erv.v t.e du] On
> Behalf Of Wil Orndorff
> Sent: Wednesday, March 04, 2009 10:36 AM
> Subject: WNS appears to be in Clover Hollow Cave
>
> John Bowling, Julie Booker, and I went to Clover Hollow last night.
>
> The situation is grim. About 200 (~ 150 Little browns and 50 pips) bats
> are
> staged near the entrance, above the drop. Numerous dead bats (~20),
> mostly
> pips, were observed. Also, there were about 15 Little browns with white
> noses (some with wing fungus as well), and at least 3 pips displaying
> fungus
> on masks and wings.
>
> A couple of dozen bats were actually hanging in the entrance drop, in
> the
> twilight zone where it was about 20 degrees fahrenheit.
>
> This staging behavior is characteristic of many of the WNS sites to the
> north. Bowling said when they were in there in January they saw only 1
> dead
> bat, and only 3 bats above the canyon drop. It is not nearly time to
> coming
> out of hibernation.
>
> Some of the dead bats had been partially scavenged.
>
> I collected 15-20 bats for analysis, including 3 (2 pips and 1 lucy)
> that I
> killed. In retrospect, I should have obtained more live animals with
> fungus, particularly lucies. But by that time I was out of baggies.
>
> I will send some pics to be posted on the club website if someone can
> tell
> me who to send them to.
>
> Thanks to everyone in the club who is taking this situation seriously.
> We
> need to assume that Tawney's is infected as well, considering the
> proximity
> to Clover Hollow and the high degree of visitation. All the VA and WV
> caves
> where this has been found so far are recreational caves with high
> visitation. I imagine by next year it will spread locally via bat-bat
> transmission. In my opinion it is imperative that we don't facilitate
> the
> further spread of WNS by encouraging sport caving in infected caves.
>
> Biologists are working with members of the caving community in Virginia
> to
> come up with a protective and realistic set of protocols that we hope
> people
> will use to guide their caving behavior. If you must go caving, please
> wash
> and disinfect your gear thoroughly, and STAY OUT OF CLOVER HOLLOW AND
> TAWNEYS. And even more importantly, STAY OUT OF BLAND COUNTY or
> anywhere
> south or west of Giles. In my opinion, any VPI Caver who has been caving
> in
> Giles in the last year should consider themselves exposed, and act
> accordingly.
>
> Disinfection protocols are at:
>
> http://www.fws.gov/northeast/whitenosem ... ontainment
>
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Re: Fungus serious threat to NE bats

Postby wyandottecaver » Mar 4, 2009 5:58 pm

Has anyone had confirmation of Illinois cave ban? I have seen one press article that mentioned it and nothing else.
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