WNS was subsequently observed in Cave Mountain Cave , 17+ miles north of the Guilday Preserve.
This cave has a summer maternity colony of Virginia big-eared bats and from banding data we know at least some of these bats hibernate in Hellhole, the largest concentration of Virginia big-ears anywhere.
Feb 20: Scientists confirmed that the West Virginia cases are harboring the geomyces fungus
The Board of the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. (SCCi) closed several SCCi-owned or managed caves in the southeastern U.S. All of the caves being closed are home to significant populations of endangered bats.
This is a precautionary action to protect endangered bats from White Nose Syndrome (WNS).
As of March 18, 2009, at least 60 hibernacula in nine states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia) are known to be affected by WNS.
Researchers don't know yet if WNS emerged because this newly identified fungus was introduced into caves or whether the fungus already existed in caves and began infecting bats after they were already weakened from some other cause.
This fungus may have been recently introduced to bat hibernation caves
if so, human and animal movements among these caves are causes that need to be considered.
" Before the identification of white-nose syndrome, mass mortality events in bats as a result of disease were very rare."
“ People are starting to comb through old historic records to see, but there is no evidence that I know of anywhere in the fossil record, or in recent recorded history, of a die-off of this nature in bats.”
Researchers with the USGS National Wildlife Health Center are studying the environmental prevalence of the recently-discovered Geomyces fungus associated with WNS.
cavers are assisting with the collection of soil samples this winter from caves and mines occupied by bats.
they are collecting small soil samples from 4-6 caves or mines in each state east of the Mississippi River, plus the states that border the Mississippi on the west, (e.g. 6 in Missouri, 5 in Arkansas, 4 in New Hampshire). roughly 120-150 total sites.
Cavers in regions outside the WNS-affected and adjacent states should be using clothing and gear that has never been used in caves or mines in the affected or adjacent states , and should thoroughly clean and contain all clothing and gear upon exiting caves .
Dr. Blehert has determined that the fungicidal product Pure Green 28 , that had been approved by USFWS, widely adopted in the northeast, and sold at OTR last fall is not effective and should not be used.
The purpose of the NSS White Nose Syndrome Rapid Response Fund is to initiate or continue field and laboratory research into White Nose Syndrome in bats, especially where other funding is not readily available, and would result in critically identified seasonal research not occurring.
The WNS Rapid Response Fund gives you an opportunity to provide timely, direct, and much-needed support for WNS research. In fact, this may be the only way to provide immediate significant and targeted resources to the biggest threat ever to face bats in the United States
Your help is needed . Make your tax-deductible donation online at the NSS Donation Page, or write a check to the NSS WNS Rapid Response Fund and mail it to: NSS, 2813 Cave Ave., Huntsville, AL 35810-4431. The NSS is a 501(c)3, non-profit, tax-exempt organization.