Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bats Given Anti-Fungal Treatment

Researchers who are trying to stop a disease that has killed over a million bats in the Northeastern part of the United States are testing an anti-fungal solution in hibernation caves in New York State.

Al Hicks, a Mammal Specialist for NY State Department of Environmental Conservation in the Endangered Species Unit said they will visit mines to see if their solution works.

White Nose Syndrome is a disease that is infecting and killing the bat population in large quantities. It first appeared in 2005/2006 and appears to be an invasive disease from Europe. Its named after the white fungal-looking smudge on their noses. It was first seen in New York but has spread throughout New England, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

When the bats are infected they die of starvation. During the summer months, bats typically eat about half their weight in insects. Then they either migrate south to warm weather where they can continue to do so or they overeat in the fall to prepare for the winter. With the disease, they are starving to death in the middle of the winter.

Bats live in caves and mines of which there are many in Pennsylvania.

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