Mystery Fungus Attacks Bats
I love bats. They’re my second favorite animal. My first love is for cats. Sadly, I am not fond of rats. But it would have made a nice trifecta if I did, yes?
Bats have always been a source of wonder and inspiration for me. They’re just…beautiful and magical creatures. There are a few precious bats that hang out in the entry to my building. They flitter around in the lamp light, and I just love to watch them.
I was saddened to learn that there is a terrible white fungus that has been rapidly killing bats in nine Northeastern States, and it seems to be spreading. At least 1 million bats have been killed by this mystery fungus since 2007. Scientists are calling it “white-nose syndrome” (WNS) because the dead bats have white rings of fungus around their noses, on their ears and faces.
This is a big deal. Not only because it would be devastating to see certain species of bats go extinct, but also because the loss of a million bats means hundreds of tons of insects are free to survive, killing crops and tormenting wildlife…spreading disease and destruction. Not a pretty picture.
Thankfully, it seems that wildlife enthusiasts are not the only ones taking notice. On June 4, the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands and the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife (of the Committee on Natural Resources) held a joint oversight hearing: “White-Nose Syndrome: What’s Killing Bats in the Northeast?”
You can read more about the meeting as well as watch video of the full hearing on the subcommittees official web site. The following link will take you directly to the page on the WNS hearing.
Learn more about this devastating disease that is killing our precious bat populations by watching the following video, presented by Scientific American.
One man who is taking on the fight to save the bats is Thomas Kuntz aka the Bat Man. Kuntz, whose love of the winged creatures started as a young man exploring caves in the Ozarks, tells BU Today of WNS, “All of this has come together pretty suddenly, and now we have a national crisis.” Read BU Today’s entire article and interview with Kuntz, here: Bat Man vs. White Nose
Further interview material with Kuntz as well as extensive reporting by Linda Moulton Howe can be found on Linda’s Earthfiles site here: