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Mystery Disease Forcing Bats to Extinction: White Nose Syndrome (WNS)

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posted on Mar, 27 2008 @ 09:23 PM

I was hoping this might be contained, but it looks like the infected area is much larger than previously thought.


"We've never seen anything like this before with our bats, much less any other mammals, with a very large regional die-off," said Susi von Oettingen of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Bat advocates aren't the only ones worried about the plummeting population. Farmers and others will likely miss the bats later this year since the disappearance of whole populations could mean a much larger number of insects. So far, the disease has been found in Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont, though biologists say it could easily spread to other regions.

Meanwhile, the Canadians are quickly surveying mines in Quebec. So far, nothing.

posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 11:24 AM

It looks like you can add Pennsylvania to the list.

Fungus could be spreading to bat caves in Pennsylvania

The problem is obviously growing...

And, more generally:

On a freefall toward extinction

BATS have been dying by the thousands recently in the Northeastern United States. No one knows why, and it may be months, perhaps years, before the cause is determined.
more stories like this

Meanwhile, scientists predict that this summer there will be a population explosion of insects, which bats normally eat in large quantities. Greater numbers of beetles and moths could mean severe and costly losses for farmers and timber producers. There could also be bigger swarms of mosquitoes and other biting bugs, which will mean more discomfort for all of us.


[edit on 29-4-2008 by loam]

posted on May, 30 2008 @ 10:31 AM
reply to post by loam

Could it be there is a connection between the facts that bats live in damp, dark caves, and a fungus that feeds on radioactivity was found in abandoned nuclear facilities?

posted on Nov, 6 2008 @ 08:54 AM

They've studied the fungus found on the bats, and here's what they found.

Bat syndrome's telltale white nose-mold new to science

A mold that gives hibernating bats fuzzy, white noses turns out to be a previously unknown form of cold-loving fungus. And it may be a cold-blooded killer too.

A novel form of a Geomyces fungus ranks as a possible cause of the deadly white-nose syndrome recently described in New England bats, David Blehert of the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisc., and his colleagues report online October 30 in Science.

White-nose syndrome, described only in the last two years, strikes its victims during their winter hibernation. Bats cuddled along the walls of caves or mines develop a white fuzz on their noses and wings, grow gaunt and then die.

From another article:

"So essentially these bats are hanging on the cave ceiling almost like a piece of food that you've forgotten about in your refrigerator and for whatever reason now they're getting moldy," microbiologist David Blehert of the U.S. Geological Survey told LiveScience.

A big question remains: Why has this murder mystery only surfaced recently?


Yeah, that's what I'd like to know.

As the second article points out, bats have been hibernating in these same caves for millions of years.

[edit on 6-11-2008 by loam]

posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 10:20 PM

This is not good.

Lethal Bat Illness Spreads to Pennsylvania and New Jersey

The puzzling disease that has killed hundreds of thousands of hibernating bats in the Northeast over the past two winters has now been confirmed in two new states. Today, the Pennsylvania Game Commission announced that white-nose syndrome has been documented in Mifflin County, in central Pennsylvania, in a mine occupied by wintering bats. The syndrome has also recently been discovered afflicting hibernating bats in New Jersey.


Said Mollie Matteson, conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity: “The fact that white-nose syndrome is now confirmed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and appears to be spreading to other bat wintering sites in Vermont and elsewhere, should galvanize our wildlife agencies to take all precautionary measures to stop further declines in bat populations. We are looking at the potential extinction of several species of bats in the Northeast within a few years’ time.


See also:

Mysterious, deadly bat disease found in New Jersey
Researchers find mystery bat-killing ailment spreading to N.J.
White-Nose Syndrome surfaces in Pennsylvania

[edit on 24-1-2009 by loam]

posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 10:29 PM
reply to post by loam

No - this is not good. This is also similar to what they are seeing other species - Starving - fungus - Geese - frogs -
I believe it is also similar to what we are seeing in humans - to a degree -
Respiratory/sinus/coughing issues off the charts - conditions that do not get better - fungus and bacteria driven illnesses that cannot be fixed with antibiotics -

posted on Feb, 4 2009 @ 04:44 PM
Nice post OP.. This like the bee thing is serious business. Another link on this

posted on Feb, 6 2009 @ 01:50 AM
Less Bats = many many more mosquitos....

more mosquitos + avian flu pandemic = many many dead humans.

posted on Feb, 26 2009 @ 01:05 AM

White nose moves into West Virginia:

White-nose disease confirmed in Pendleton bats

Bats in Pendleton County have white-nose syndrome, a condition associated with the death of more than 100,000 hibernating bats in the Northeast, a laboratory has confirmed.

"We pretty much knew that," state Division of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Craig Stihler said of the syndrome's confirmation in an e-mail message on Monday. "But now the lab confirms it."


West Virginia caves provide some of the nation's most important hibernation sites for endangered Virginia big-eared bats and Indiana bats, as well as for a variety of more abundant bat species.

As the article indicates:

A cold-loving fungus not previously scientifically described has been linked to white nose syndrome, which was first observed in bat hibernation sites near Albany, N.Y., in 2006. Since then, the syndrome has spread to caves and abandoned mines in Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and West Virginia, and is suspected to be present in New Hampshire.

This thing just keeps marching on!!!

And they still have NO CLUE.

[edit on 26-2-2009 by loam]

posted on Feb, 26 2009 @ 08:18 AM
Here are some videos on the subject. The last video link is particularly good.

White Nose Syndrome

White-Nose Syndrome in Pennsylvania

White Nose Syndrome has scientists baffled (Video)

Three years into this thing and they still have nothing!


posted on Feb, 26 2009 @ 08:24 AM
Oh this could be very bad! Bats not only pollinate thousands of acres of plants every year but they also eats tons upon tons of insects! This might change alot of ecosystems.

Anyone think it might be related to the bees disappearing all over the world?

posted on Feb, 26 2009 @ 09:04 AM
reply to post by Tentickles

Yes, this is very bad.

NO BATS is just as bad, if not worse than NO BEES.

Throughout this entire ordeal, I'm actually shocked how little attention this subject receives.

Bats have been doing what bats do for MILLIONS of years. But in the last three, something is threatening to nearly wipe them out in North America. And who knows, maybe elsewhere.

Think about that. I mean, REALLY think about that!

Shocking and frightening.

[edit on 26-2-2009 by loam]

posted on Feb, 26 2009 @ 09:11 AM
reply to post by loam

Could you imagine what might happen if they are wiped out? Add in that our economy isnt doing well and people might start growing their own food to get by...

1+1=Starvation and disease!

posted on Feb, 26 2009 @ 10:32 AM

Can you imagine manually pollinating the world's grain and rice fields with paintbrushes?

loam - I recall a paper that spoke seriously about growing the planet's food in greenhouses. My brother the farmer scoffed, but now it's beginning to make sense. Did you read same article, or do you have any recollection? Don't think I posted on it...

posted on Feb, 27 2009 @ 05:14 PM
CBS is announcing a special piece tomorrow night:

Dead Bats: Why It Matters To You

A short posting today but wanted to encourage everyone to watch the CBS Evening News with Jeff Glor on Saturday night. We'll be updating our story from last year about the massive die-off of bats in the northeast. The phenomenon has spread from four states to eight, and hundreds of thousands of them are dying from a mysterious condition. The leading cause is the so-called "white nose syndrome" or fungus that appears on their snouts. But researchers aren't sure if that's the cause or a symptom of something larger. And why should we care about bats? They are a critical part of the eco-system in controlling bug and pest populations from moths to mosquitoes. And their decline in numbers will have a serious impact on forests, crops, and eventually food prices. I hope you'll be watching.

[edit on 27-2-2009 by loam]

posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 07:15 AM
Also an update on this subject on earthfiles. Mentions Ohio, Ky, Tn may be next

posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 08:51 AM
If current death trends continue, bat populations may collapse below the point of no return

While researchers generally agree that the WNS disrupts hibernation, the big picture has not been rigorously tested, in part because lengthy field experiments are difficult given the rapid spread of the disease. This is why scientists at the University of Winnipeg took a different route. Justin Boyles and Craig Willis created a mathematical simulation to test the idea. The model incorporates patterns of arousal, body mass, and the percentage of body fat particular to little brown bats—one of the many species impacted by the fungus.

The results appear in the current issue of the academic journal Frontiers in Ecology. The findings show that over 80 percent of the mortality observed in affected populations can be explained by hibernation disruption.

To help the suffering animals, Boyles and Willis suggest introducing a heat source into caves. They hope this will help the bats stay warm when awake, and minimize the amount of energy lost during periods of arousal. Bats already fly to the warmest parts of their cave when they awake, and the researchers argue the additional heat sources will simply “accentuate” their natural behavior. According to their simulation, mortality rates will drop to as little as 8 percent if localized heat sources are used.

The article continues:

Wooden warming boxes complete with heat coils and insulation are being designed. As bats must be able to lower their body temperatures during hibernation, researchers don’t want to raise the overall temperature inside the cave. Instead, the boxes will provide a momentary escape from the cold.

Of course the idea remains to be tested and, even if it works, saving sick bats means the fungus may be passed more easily. Yet, if current death trends continue, bat populations may collapse below the point of no return. "This isn’t a cure. We’re going for a stopgap," said Boyles. The origins of WNS are still unknown, and no other treatment is currently available.

Doesn't really sound like much of a strategy, does it?

posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 08:04 AM

Fatal Fungus Killing Bats at Alarming Rate

The race is on throughout the northeast. From tagging bats with tiny transmitters to infrared flight analysis and blood testing of their immune systems, researchers are trying to solve one of the most devastating mysteries in the natural world: The huge and rapid die off of the species named little brown bats.

"It's unprecedented in North American wildlife, at least in recorded history," Tom Kunz, a bat biologist at Boston University, told CBS News Science and Technology Correspondent Daniel Sieberg.


They've been surviving for 50 million years, but an entire species of bats may be wiped out in less than a decade.

We are now entering the 4th winter.

Hopefully it will bring good news.

posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 03:16 PM

Originally posted by DontTreadOnMe
I said it about bees, and I'll say it about these poor bats.

With genetically modified foods, one would think the pollen would also be modified.
Who's to know if that modified pollen somehow plays havoc with the bats immune system, and causes this weakness to contaminants that would otherwise not affect them.

And we're taking in the same modified and unclean food they are. All American fish are contaminated with toxic levels of mercury, for example.

Well, you gotta eat. So I am thinking that soon, we may not be able to reproduce just like the deformed frogs in northern America from a decade ago or so. That was a good canary to say, something is terribly wrong with your water and food supply. Now fish, bees, bats. Soon, what could be next?

What will it take for people to wake up and demand change? When it's not bats, but maybe cats? Dogs? Deer? Gorillas? We're already probably too late to save ourselves and our planet, but if not, we can't keep up this way for another minute. We're damning the future of our race.

Maybe it would be better to say, we're damning the future, period.

[edit on 10-9-2009 by BaronVonGodzilla]

posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 03:30 PM
Bats May Play Role in Spread of Ebola Virus, Study Says

The Ebola virus has caused a small number of deadly outbreaks among people and primates in Africa since 1976 that health workers have contained. But because the virus poses continuous threats scientists are concerned that they do not know the virus's hiding place in nature.

Now an international team of scientists have found evidence of symptomless Ebola virus infection in three species of fruit bats, adding to earlier suggestions that they are the likely reservoir.

Working at the International Medical Research Center in Franceville, Gabon, the scientists from France, South Africa and Thailand found fragments of the Ebola virus or evidence of an immune response to it among three species of bats in Gabon and Congo. The bat species are eaten by people in central Africa where Ebola outbreaks have occurred, according to the report in the Dec. 1 issue of the journal Nature.

The new findings show that bats may play a role in transmitting the Ebola virus to primates and people, but "there is still insufficient evidence to conclude that they are the natural reservoir of the disease," said Marian Cheng, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organization in Geneva.

The bats may serve as mechanical vectors for spreading the disease, but the new report does not address that issue and further study is required, Ms. Cheng said.

Earlier work dating to 1996 showed that bats could be experimentally infected with Ebola virus, suggesting they might be carriers.

The international team led by Dr. Eric M. Leroy undertook three trapping expeditions to catch and test 1,030 small animals in areas near where infected gorilla and chimpanzee carcasses were found in outbreaks between 2001 and 2003.

The trapping included 679 bats. The scientists found either evidence of the immune globulin g protein specific to Ebola virus in the blood or fragments of the virus in the liver or spleen of three species of bats: Hypsignathus monstrosus, Epomops franqueti and Myonycteris torquata.

Each of the species has broad geographical range including areas where Ebola outbreaks have occurred, Dr. Leroy's team said.


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