WNS reported in Indiana?

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Re: WNS reported in Indiana

Postby wyandottecaver » Mar 12, 2009 3:52 pm

John is quite reputable as a source. I do not yet know (but suspect) where his information came from. I also have a suspicion about the site. The reason no more data is given is almost certainly because the science and politics dictate that number one a report is not confirmation. Number 2 you need to let the "right" people make the official announcement, especially if it is on federal property.

There were a number of Indiana caves listed as being visited by NE cavers from WNS sites and one of them is a very popular cave on the hoosier. That cave also has only a token population of indiana bats......... If this is confirmed at that site then human transmission will be proven at least in my mind.

PS the reason the Bat Management thread is WNS Speculation is, if you read it, because while there are many posts with scientific data, there are many from people putting forth their own personal theories and....speculation :)
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Re: WNS reported in Indiana

Postby tncaver » Mar 12, 2009 4:09 pm

wyandottecaver wrote:There were a number of Indiana caves listed as being visited by NE cavers from WNS sites and one of them is a very popular cave on the hoosier. That cave also has only a token population of indiana bats......... If this is confirmed at that site then human transmission will be proven at least in my mind.

PS the reason the Bat Management thread is WNS Speculation is, if you read it, because while there are many posts with scientific data, there are many from people putting forth their own personal theories and....speculation :)


wyandottecaver, I think your mind has been made up for awhile. :roll: The Bat Management website sounds like a
duplication of this one..."many posts with scientific data, there are many from people putting forth their own personal theories and....speculation".

The theories put forth on this forum have mostly been offered up as ideas for the researchers to investigate rather than meant to be gospel.

Speaking of WNS ideas, perhaps if the original WNS sites are investigated more intensely, a cause might be found. Once
the cause of WNS is found, then perhaps a treatment will be easier to figure out.
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Re: WNS reported in Indiana

Postby PYoungbaer » Mar 12, 2009 4:33 pm

I have no other reports of WNS in Indiana. I do know John Chenger, and would say he's reputable. I know he works extensively with the PGC on bat surveys. He runs a company that manufactures harp traps and other equipment that supports field bat research. If John's report is true, we will hear a lot more about it very soon. In the meantime, let's not jump anywhere.

I do agree with the observation that since PA has suspended its surveys, it's difficult to know whether or not there are WNS sites in between the ones that have been reported. Just this afternoon, I was speaking with a reporter from the Baltimore Sun, who was inquiring about caves in Western Maryland, which haven't been surveyed to my knowledge. We do hope to have some soil samples from there shortly, and perhaps some eyewitness observation about the status of bats there.

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Re: WNS reported in Indiana

Postby wyandottecaver » Mar 12, 2009 4:36 pm

LOL. I could say the same about you Tncaver :big grin: Actually I have argued all along that we could not (for lack of evidence) exclude people as vectors even if that possibility seemed unlikely. My earlier posts in fact stated that I doubted people were vectors or at least very effecient ones. Indeed my proposal for destroying infected colonies supposed that at a minimum people are very very poor carriers of WNS. That now seems to be in serious question.....It has only been since the jump to VA that I have argued that human transmission seems likely. *If* the jump to IN is proven, and *if* it is the site I suspect, a cave with virtually no bats to begin with...bypassing hundreds of larger colonies in between....then the odds of a bat wandering there from across the country are certainly less than a caver from a WNS area going there...especially when we can document the latter with certainty.
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Re: WNS reported in Indiana

Postby tncaver » Mar 12, 2009 5:28 pm

wyandottecaver, I appreciate your enthusiasm concerning your opinions and I do not discount them. However, I may
question your opinions and those of others as well. Hopefully, you won't object to my asking more questions. My questions
of the day concern the "jump" to Indiana or anywhere for that matter. If an Indiana Cave, or one in any other state for
that matter, has not been surveyed for WNS in awhile, is it necessarily a "jump"? Basically, what I'm saying is that WNS
could have been at a specific cave anywhere in the country and no one would know it unless said caves have been checked
on a continuous basis.

My second question is with the soil samples. Where in relation to the bat colonies are they being collected from? If those
samples are only collected under hibernating bats, that will prove nothing. Are samples being taken at several locations
in bat caves, to include locations before and beyond the bat colonies?

Hey, I admit it...I'm stubborn too. Maybe I should have been from the Show Me State. Regardless, I'm sure there are many
other cavers who want to know the facts just as I do. I also know that data can be presented in various ways to prove a point.
Same for numbers. Numbers don't lie but the way the numbers are presented can certainly deceive.
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Re: WNS reported in Indiana

Postby Anonymous_Coward » Mar 12, 2009 6:03 pm

wyandottecaver wrote:The reason no more data is given is almost certainly because the science and politics dictate that number one a report is not confirmation. Number 2 you need to let the "right" people make the official announcement, especially if it is on federal property


Both of these seem like great reasons not to post vague, speculative reports on a bulletin board before the facts are in hand.

BTW, I just discovered WNS in Nevada and the fact that I found it there proves all my theories and suspicions about how it is transmitted, but I can't tell you anything else about it! Rest assured I am a reputable source.

(see how annoying that is)

(J/K about NV by the way)
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Re: WNS reported in Indiana

Postby wyandottecaver » Mar 12, 2009 6:19 pm

Jaa,
the difference is you aren't a recognized bat expert who has posted reliable data concerning WNS for the past 2 years (John, not me) :)

TNcaver

In most cases the presence/absence of WNS or a timeline isn't known exactly. In rarely visited/gated sites WNS may indeed persist for a year or 3 or 10? before being discovered. However, in some cases, particularly the most recent ones in WV, VA, the caves are visited regularly and WNS is noticed fairly soon once visible signs appear. In some cases it seems to appear quite suddenly even within 1 or 2 weeks. So in general, if WNS is wide spread in an area cavers will likely notice it. If it is only in a isolated, rarely visited location, maybe not.

if the supposed IN site was simply an extension of many other (or a few) other sites between there and the current WNS area in the east then I think at least some of those would have attracted cavers or biologists notice. At least in IN most of the major hibernacula were physically visited this year and 2 years ago and most see regular caver visits outside winter. If the supposed IN site is the one I suspect then it sees regular year round traffic. Of course WNS in Indiana could be shown later not exist at all or be in a different site so we'll just have to see.

As to the soil samples, I can only speak for Indiana. In Indiana the USFWS sampled at several of the major bat hibernacula. I coordinated the non USFWS collection and we sampled 6 sites spread geographically (the main critera) around the state. They also included several caves listed in the database as being visited by NE cavers from WNS sites, and show caves. They ranged from caves with a scattered bat population of maybe 100 max to caves with no observed bats. In most cases the bat populations could best be described as "token" meaning there were a few bats present but it was not a major site. multiple samples per site were collected, both under roosting bats if present and in different areas of each cave.
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Re: WNS reported in Indiana

Postby Anonymous_Coward » Mar 12, 2009 6:24 pm

wyandottecaver wrote:Jaa,
the difference is you aren't a recognized bat expert who has posted reliable data concerning WNS for the past 2 years (John, not me) :)



Still seems irresponsible. :shrug:
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Re: WNS reported in Indiana

Postby wyandottecaver » Mar 12, 2009 6:39 pm

Well,

he could have waited till it was confirmed. Or waited until it was officially announced. Instead, based on the reliability of his source, he chose to inform cavers of something directly relevant to those caving in that region. If you were caving in the Hoosier, or Southern IN, wouldn't you want a heads up as soon as possible? I realize that to most folks John seems like just some guy spouting a rumour. Those close to the issue know him and thus trust his information. If Bruce Smith announced he had information from a reliable source that a major advancement in climbing systems would be announced soon.....would you assume there was in fact a major advancement....or discount it as wild rumour mongering?
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Re: WNS reported in Indiana

Postby JasonD » Mar 12, 2009 6:55 pm

I don't post here much (Source: counter at right), but I think I can shed some much needed light on the subject (Source: Usually Sten)...

There are no suspected or confirmed cases of WNS in Indiana (Source: USFWS Bloomington Field Office, IN DNR Wildlife Diversity Section, and the Indiana Hibernacula Survey Team, of which I am a member).

During inspections of non-Indiana bat hibernacula on Hoosier, the Hoosier Cave Coordinator found some fungus on 3 bats. One was dead, one probably dead, and the third may or may not be fungus. Fungus (not WNS fungus necessarily) grows on dead things (Source: dead things). Picures of the fungus from the Hoosier Cave Coordinator do not at this time look like WNS fungus (Source: USFWS Bloomington Field Office).

The Hoosier Cave Coordinator is going back out to the cave tomorrow to take some tape samples to send to the lab just to be safe (Source: Hoosier Cave Coordinator). During hibernacula surveys, we occasionally see fungus on bats for various reasons (example: fungus growing on turd stuck to fur) and began taking samples this year (of the fungus, not the turd) of everyting suspicious just to be safe (Source: me).

We all still need to stay vigilant and keep decontaminating our gear, however.

Hope this helps. I am sure John will clear up the confusion soon enough...
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Re: WNS reported in Indiana

Postby wyandottecaver » Mar 12, 2009 7:20 pm

Ahhh. Thanks Jason. Maybe there is still time to destroy infected colonies after all :tonguecheek:
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Re: WNS reported in Indiana

Postby Scott McCrea » Mar 12, 2009 8:38 pm

JasonD wrote:I don't post here much

You should (Source: nice post!).
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Re: WNS reported in Indiana

Postby PYoungbaer » Mar 12, 2009 8:53 pm

In answer to the question about the soil sampling, here is the exact protocol from the instructions we sent out:

"Collect samples of particulate organic matter (e.g. soil, bat guano, small pieces of bat remains) from bat hibernation caves near areas in caves where bats are known to roost. The volume of sample collected should fill approximately half of the provided bag (sterile Whirlpack). Avoid collecting large sticks or leaves. Collect five samples per cave....etc.(shipping instructions)"

In developing these protocols with Dr. David Blehert, Dr. Thomas Kunz, and Dr. Alan Hicks, we discussed whether or not to sample in non-bat caves, or in areas of hibernacula not near bats. It was determined that for the purposed of this year's sampling (the first of an envisioned three-year project), the key was organic material and bat hibernacula. Depending on the laboratory results (months away), the sampling may be altered in subsequent years. In other words, this year's results will inform next year's strategy.

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Re: WNS reported in Indiana

Postby David Grimes » Mar 12, 2009 10:18 pm

Thanks Jason for your direct answer to this question. Even if it turns out to be nothing related to WNS I guess at least like noted by wyandottecaver someone informed cavers of the possibility before it may have a chance of becoming a problem. I agree if someone said there was WNS in Indiana I would not be out caving just as a precaution but I am a very fact oriented person and find it hard to accept a vague 2 line post on a website as absolute truth. Maybe if I knew John personally like the others who have came to his defense it would have been different but I still prefer to know who the reputable source is if someone is going to claim it as a fact.
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Re: WNS reported in Indiana

Postby John Chenger » Mar 13, 2009 12:17 am

Great news, as previously mentioned the IN "fungus" does not sound like WNS at all....

From: Andrew_King
Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2009 4:34 PM
Subject: RE: WNS in Indiana ?

I was out of the office much of the day or I would have responded to this sooner...

Last week, Steve Harriss (Cave Coordinator on the Hoosier NF) called me and subsequently sent me some photos of 3 bats with fungus/potential fungus on them in Patton Cave (Monroe County) on the Hoosier NF. However, the fungus on the bats did not look like classical WNS fungus to me. One dead bat (unknown species) was mostly decomposed and completely covered in long, white and yellow fungal hyphae (I dismissed it completely), another bat (looks like a big brown in photo,but hard to tell for sure) had white fungus on its entire muzzle, but the bat looks like it could also have recently died in its roost/crack (based on bat's odd head position) (i.e., fungus could also be from decomposition?). The third bat had one or two small patches of white (may or may not actually be fungus) on its elbow and forearm.

I believe Steve is away from his office today. However, Steve and I have made tentative plans to return to the cave tomorrow/Friday afternoon to collect fungal tape samples/specimens of any suspicious looking bats present. Others are welcome to join us. This is the only news of anything related to WNS from a cave on the Hoosier NF (or elsewhere in Indiana) that I or anyone in our office has heard of.

Andy
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