Mysterious Northeast Bat Deaths Now in 9 States and Headed Toward Kentucky

“This bat die-off is unprecedented and this precipitous decline
we have seen is probably the greatest loss of wildlife in North America
in at least a century.”

- Thomas Kunz, Ph.D., Boston University

 

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Eight Little Brown Bats hanging upside down in hibernation west of Albany, New York, inside Hailes Cave in February 2007. Unidentified white fungus rings the noses on seven. Bat mortality in two caves affected by the white-nose syndrome was 90% and 97%. By February 2008, the white-nose syndrome has spread to twenty caves in New York state, southwestern Vermont and western Massachusetts. By spring 2009, at least a million bats have died in nine states and Kentucky could be next. Image © 2007 by Nancy Heaslip.
Eight Little Brown Bats hanging upside down in hibernation west of Albany, New York, inside Hailes Cave in February 2007. Unidentified white fungus rings the noses on seven. Bat mortality in two caves affected by the white-nose syndrome was 90% and 97%. By February 2008, the white-nose syndrome has spread to twenty caves in New York state, southwestern Vermont and western Massachusetts. By spring 2009, at least a million bats have died in nine states and Kentucky could be next. Image © 2007 by Nancy Heaslip.
 Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) hibernating in West Virginia cave has white ring of the never-before-seen fungal genus, now named Geomyces destructans, around its nose and on its ears. Image © 2009 by Craig W. Stihler, Ph.D., West Virginia Dept. of Natural Resources.
Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) hibernating in West Virginia cave has white ring of the never-before-seen fungal genus, now named Geomyces destructans, around its nose and on its ears. Image © 2009 by Craig W. Stihler, Ph.D., West Virginia Dept. of Natural Resources.

June 26, 2009  Boston, Massachusetts - Bats are dying in the Northeastern United States at a rate never seen before by scientists and the leading culprit is a fungus that was finally named this month for what it does: Geomyces destructans. It’s a brand new fungus never seen before. Bats are mammals and mammals have never been destroyed by a fungus like this before either.

 

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