Bat Cave Rescue

Promising Progress Against Disease




Art13/Shutterstock.com

A cold-loving fungus known as white-nose syndrome (Pseudogymnoascus destructans) originating in Eurasia, where bats evolved to develop immunity to it, began infecting 15 species of hibernating bats in North America in 2006. As the fungus grows over bats’ noses and wings, it disrupts their winter sleep, causing them to expend too much energy and burn up fat they need for winter survival. More than 6 million bats have succumbed to the disease so far. Some species are experiencing near total collapse: Little brown bat populations have been decimated by about 90 percent, while tricolored and northern long-eared bats are suffering losses of around 97 percent. Ecologists thought the fungus might halt at the Rockies, but by 2016 it had made its way to Washington State.

A collaboration between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, biologists, ecologists, mycologists, biochemists and other scientists at universities, NGOs and state, federal and tribal agencies have made significant progress in combating the fungus using genomics: Sequencing its genes has allowed them to determine its origin. Plans include treating the caves and mines in which the bats hibernate. It also appears that some species are developing resistance to the fungus or developing coping strategies, like waking up together every night to generate extra group warmth.


This article appears in the February 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Fish Revival

Following the removal two years ago of an obsolete dam, shad have returned to New Jersey’s Millstone River for the first time since 1845.

Bug Apocalypse

The number of invertebrates and insects such as moths, butterflies and bees has dropped worldwide by 45 percent in the last 35 years, raising alarm about the global ecosystem.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »This Month

Wellness Within Reach

Newton Chiropractic & Wellness Centre Business Spotlight
This year, Newtwon Chiropractic & Wellness Centre is pleased to welcome acupuncturist Alana Hammer, whose knowledge and skills provide yet another resource for NCWC’s patients.

Pints for Paws Fundraiser

Join other beer lovers from 6 to 9 p.m., July 13, for Pints for Paws, a fun event to support the Cold Noses Foundation.

Life-Changing Vision Quest Mitote in the Catskill Mountains

Join Janet StraightArrow from August 9 to 11 in a comfortable retreat house on beautiful, pristine land in Accord, New York, for a vision quest mitote.

Forest Bathing Retreat on Peddocks Island

Toadstool Walks, a forest bathing guide service based out of Boston, will offer forest bathing retreats on Peddocks Island on July 6 and August 11.

Flower Essences for Sexual Health and Wellness

Sacha Fossa of Sacred Temple Arts has now added flower essences to her array of tools for sexual wellness and healing.

Bringing the Body Back Into Balance

Maya Abdominal Therapy Spotlight
Maya abdominal massage is a supportive modality for people suffering from digestive and reproductive conditions.