Tag Archives: WNS

White nose syndrome has been found in bats in Europe

White nose syndrome, the fungus that has been killing bats in the northeast United States these past five years, has now been definitively found on bats in Europe.

With this information, scientists now know that it is the differences between North American and European bats that can explain why European bat colonies can survive the fungus while North American bats cannot. Furthermore, this information should show us how future North American bats will adapt to the fungus.

More stupidity from the Center for Biological Diversity

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) today sued the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Colorado for allowing caving to take place at the annual convention of the National Speleological Society.

The CBD claims that human activity can spread white nose syndrome, the mysterious ailment that has been killing millions of bats across the eastern United States. To quote:

It is well documented that the fungus believed to cause white-nose syndrome, aptly named Geomyces destructans, can be spread on the clothes and gear of people visiting caves. Scientists strongly suspect that the disease is a recent import from Europe, likely transported by someone who visited a cave there and then came to North America.

To be blunt, this statement is an outright lie.
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National Speleological Society responds to the demand that all caves be closed to protect bats

The National Speleological Society has responded in strong opposition [pdf] to the demand by the Center for Biological Diversity that all caves on public land be closed to protect bats.

Calling for blanket cave closures across the U.S. is unnecessary, unenforceable, and counterproductive. While cave closures on some federal lands have been implemented, particularly in the eastern U. S., there is no evidence that this action has done anything to contain [white nose syndrome] (WNS). Most people working on WNS understand that bat to bat transmission is overwhelmingly the primary method of transmission, and administrative closing of caves and mines does nothing to prevent that.

U.S. Forest Service closes more caves

An excellent editorial on the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to shutter more caves. Key quote:

The closures . . . seem like an overreaching government solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. The Forest Service could certainly be spending its time in more constructive ways – like taking public comment on the “emergency” closures, which are set to start May 1.

Congress removes wolf from endangered list

Congress removes the wolf from the endangered list. From Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana):

“Right now, Montana’s wolf population is out of balance and this provision will get us back on the responsible path with state management. Wolves have recovered in the Northern Rockies. By untying the hands of the Montana biologists who know how to keep the proper balance, we will restore healthy wildlife populations and we will protect livestock. This provision is best for our wildlife, our livestock and for wolves themselves.”

I don’t know if Tester’s description of the situation in Montana is accurate (though I tend to rely on local expertise in these matters). However, to get an opposing viewpoint the article above goes to the Center for Biological Diversity, an organization I do know something about. In caving matters relating to white nose syndrome, CBD has pushed extremist and outright ignorant policy positions (trying for example to have all caves and mines on all public lands closed in order to protect bats, even though there is literally no evidence that such an action made sense). I would not trust their opinions under any condition.