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Infected Bat Found at Mammoth Cave Nat. Park

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January 17, 2013 by   - () Leave a Comment

Areas marked in red indicate the most recent confirmed cases of white-nose syndrome in bats. Map courtesy of www.whitenosesyndrome.org.

Mammoth Cave National Park Superintendent Sarah Craighead announced Wednesday (Jan. 16) that a bat from a cave in the south central Kentucky park has been confirmed with white-nose syndrome, a condition deadly to bats, YubaNet.com reported.

"It grieves me to make this announcement," said Craighead. "A northern long-eared bat, showing symptoms of white-nose syndrome, was found in Long Cave in the park. The bat was euthanized on Jan. 4 and sent for laboratory testing. Those tests confirmed white-nose syndrome."

Long Cave, an undeveloped cave 1.3 miles long, is the park's largest bat hibernaculum and houses endangered Indiana bats and gray bats, along with other non-threatened species. Long Cave is not connected to Mammoth Cave and has not been open to visitors for more than 80 years.

Tours of Mammoth Cave will continue. White-nose syndrome is known to be transmitted primarily from bat to bat, but spores of Geomyces destructans, the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome, may be inadvertently carried between caves by humans on clothing, footwear, and caving gear. White-nose syndrome is not known to affect people, pets, or livestock but is harmful or lethal to hibernating bats, killing 90% or more of some species of bats in caves where the fungus has lasted for a year or longer, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

White-nose syndrome was first detected in New York State in 2006 and has killed more than 5.5 million cave-dwelling bats in the eastern third of North America as it has spread south and west. The fungus that causes white-nose syndrome has been confirmed in 21 states; white-nose syndrome has been confirmed in 19 states. It has also been confirmed in four Canadian provinces. A map of the current spread of white-nose syndrome can be found at http://whitenosesyndrome.org/resource/wns-map-01162013.

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