Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ray of Hope for Bats Amid White-nose Syndrome

The Fort Drum Military Installation in northern New York is home to the U.S. Army's fabled 10th Mountain Division. It is also home to a maternity colony of little brown myotis – and those surprisingly resilient bats are providing a modest ray of hope amid the carnage of White-nose Syndrome, reports North County Public Radio of Canton, New York.

Army biologists have been monitoring that colony, where females gather each summer to give birth and raise their young, for years – well before WNS first appeared in a single cave, also in upstate New York, in February 2006, the radio station said.

WNS or the Geomyces destructans fungus that is its apparent cause, has now spread to 19 states and four Canadian provinces. The total bat population of New York and other impacted states has been decimated. Little brown myotis have been hit so hard that scientists predict the once-common species could be extinct in the northeastern United States within 15 years.

North County Public Radio says Chris Dubony is a Fort Drum fish and wildlife biologist who's been studying the maternity colony. He found that, although their numbers were drastically reduced, some of those bats survived White-nose Syndrome, healed from the damage and may, someday, help this battered species begin a slow recovery.

Reporter Nora Flaherty interviewed Dubony about his work. Read the entire article.

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