White Nose Bat Syndrome: Help Needed!

by Alan Hicks

During the winter of 2006-2007, a large number of dead bats were discovered in four Albany, New York, area caves (Hailes and Knox Caves, Schoharie and Gages Caverns). Although it has not yet been confirmed, it seems likely that this event was related in some way to a fungus that was observed around the noses of roughly half the bats in Hailes Cave (see attached photograph). None of the many bat researchers that were sent the photograph had seen anything like it before.

We do not yet understand exactly what happened, or why, and are not even sure that the fungus and the mortalities are related. We do know that bats died by the thousands and that there is a chance that this problem can be carried to other sites by either bats or cavers.

We need your help. We ask that when caving, each of you keep an eye out for bats exhibiting this white nose condition or any unusual numbers of dead bats. If you encounter either situation, please call Alan Hicks at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as soon as possible (e-mail achicks@gw.dec.state.ny.us, cell 518-451-4632, office 518-402-8854).

[The article above also included the photo shown on the White-nose.info home page.  The article appeared in The Region Record, Volume XXI Number 1, Winter 2007/08, published by the Virginia Region of the National Speleological Society].

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This page last updated or verified on February 12, 2008