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Building the Bat Cave

From show 2503. In March of 2007 scientists discovered a disease called White Nose Syndrome that was killing bats in a cave in upstate New York. Today the deadly fungus has spread to 19 states and 4 Canadian provinces, killing more than 5 million bats along the way. In many infected caves, 90 percent or more of the bats living there have died. Now the disease has reached Tennessee. Scientists are frantically gathering data to learn more about the disease and hopefully find a cure.

It’s a tough task. Bat caves are delicate ecosystems and the disease strikesĀ  during hibernation, when the animals are most vulnerable. Wild Side Guide Ken Tucker takes us to Montgomery County, where the Nature Conservancy is taking unusual steps to help save our bats.

With more caves than any other state, Tennessee faces a big challenge trying to control the spread of White Nose Syndrome. Remember, all caves on public land are closed until further notice. Biologists strongly urge people to stay away from private ones as well. If you do enter a private cave, it is extremely important that you clean your clothes and gear thoroughly to limit the spread of the fungus. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has developed decontamination guides designed to limit the spread of the disease that are listed on their website at http://www.fws.gov/whitenosesyndrome/cavers.html

Here are some web links for more information on white-nose syndrome.

http://news.tn.gov/node/4596
http://www.batcon.org/index.php/media-and-info/bats-archives.html?task=viewArticle&magArticleID=1056
http://whitenosesyndrome.org/
http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/disease_information/white-nose_syndrome/

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