White-Nose Syndrome: Bat Populations Plummeting...
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Dusty
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Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:57 am
White-Nose Syndrome, or WNS, is a fungus that has been decimating bat populations since the winter of 2007 in the US and Canada, there have also been reports of this fungus in Europe. No one seems to know where this fungus came from, but since its emergence in 2007 in North America, it has killed between 5.5-6.7 million bats, and the toll is rising. The fungus attacks colonies of bats during their hibernation period (the bats weaken their immune systems to drop to a temperature that allows them to hibernate during this time), and the fact that many of the species of bats that can be infected by it hibernate in close quarters, and the fact that they often huddle together for warmth only makes them more vulnerable. This fungus is capable of wiping out 90-100% of a bat population within a cave, and even after all the bats are gone, the fungus persists to grow.

Many places in the US are putting in place gear cleaning requirements for cavers, and some caves have been gated and closed. There are also recommendations for cavers to carry two sets of gear (one for WNS infected caves and one for non infected caves). The main way that WNS spreads is through people exploring caves and transferring the fungus on their clothes, the bottoms of their shoes, ect... to other caves.

So, why should we care about the bats? Well, they actually help out a lot more than people realize. Bats actually help keep diseases such as west nile virus at bay by eating misquotes and other harmful insects. Bats can help farmers by eating crop destroying bugs like rootworms. And they also pollinate flowers that only bloom at night which provide fruits such as mangos, and they spread plant seeds.

http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/disease_information/white-nose_syndrome/
http://www.fort.usgs.gov/wns/
http://www.bats4kids.org/help.htm

So, after reading all this, I'll get to the point of what I want to discuss. XD

1. What, if anything should be done to protect the bats?
2. How would you feel about putting some bats in captivity?
3. Should we spend more time researching this disease?
4. How do you feel like bats in general?

I'll post some videos in a bit. :3
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Rayven
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Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:16 pm
1. What, if anything should be done to protect the bats?

Well I'm not sure, but I probably won't go caving anymore since I know it can hurt the bats.

2. How would you feel about putting some bats in captivity?

I'm fine with that if it is needed. We put everything else in captivity. Why not bats? It's sad, but sometimes necessary to preserve a species.

3. Should we spend more time researching this disease?

Sure. I think we have a responsibility to do more research. We should see if we can do something to help.

4. How do you feel like bats in general?

I love bats. I know they can carry rabies, but a lot of animals can. Not every bat has rabies. I've watched bats fly lots of times. I think they're fascinating. And really cute too. I had one buzz by my head one time. XD
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