Impact on Wildlife and Vermont
A new mysterious and deadly illness of bats has struck New England's largest bat cave, a cavern in a Dorset mountain where 23,000 bats spend the winter, a state wildlife biologist confirmed today.
Scott Darling saw the signs as he approached Aeolus cave Thursday. Carcasses of the tiny creatures lay in the snow. More bats flitted around the mouth of the cave, unnatural behavior for a frigid February day.
"It was as though they were running out of energy and their last effort was to go outside in search of food," Darling, a biologist with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, said today.
In response to information about a mysterious illness that has been associated with the deaths of more than 8,000 bats, conservation groups today asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to close all bat hibernation sites and withdraw all federal permits to “take” — that is, harm or kill — imperiled bats until the cause of the deaths is understood. One species of bat that is at risk is the endangered Indiana bat.
While details are limited, scientists have given the name “white-nose syndrome” to describe a Fusarium mold that is exhibited around the dead bats’ noses. The syndrome is associated with the discovery of thousands of dead bats in at least two Albany, New York-area caves last winter. ...The Indiana bat is one of the most endangered terrestrial mammals in the world.