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

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.

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.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

See More »This Month

Racing for Cancer Awareness

The sixth annual Race for Awareness will take place at Arlington International in Arlington Heights.

Three Ways to Improve

More women are thinking about starting families later in life and have difficulty conceiving. Many commonly heard reasons for infertility include extended use of birth control, advanced age, a hormone imbalance, stress and others.

Shiatsu Course Enrolling for January

Zen Shiatsu Chicago is offering an 18-month training course that fulfills the educational requirements for Asian bodywork certification and Illinois massage licensing.

Grubby Halo Acupuncture Event to Benefit Mercy for Animals

Grubby Halo Community Acupuncture (GHCA) is hosting a special event to benefit Mercy for Animals.

Women’s Forums for Self-Discovery

Sarah Karnes coaches midlife women to reclaim their ideals and mojo, despite the feeling that they have lost their sense of self in a sea of mood swings, brain fog and energy dips.

Grow and Expand Possibilities at Soul LOVE Fest

Soul LOVE Fest, a two-day event created to hit the pause button on life and discover new ways to nourish the soul, takes place September 17 and 18th.