White-Nose Kills Hundreds of Bats in Lackawanna County
Stricken bats die in and around their hibernation quarters at two abandoned mines.
Game Commission seeks public’s help in identifying other sites.
Several hundred little brown bats are dead from White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) in
Game Commission biologists had been uncovering signs of what appeared to be an impending WNS outbreak in
Last week, bats were found dead outside of an abandoned mine near
“Roughly 50 percent of the bats in the mine near
The findings in
“The Game Commission has worked hard to stay abreast of White-Nose’s escalating presence in
A couple weeks ago, the National Wildlife Health Center in
Turner reported that he found the health of hibernating bats deteriorating in the abandoned
“This mine may be the next hibernaculum where bats ‘fly and die,’” Turner said. “There’s a good chance bats are leaving other hibernacula instate and dying on the landscape, but we haven’t found them yet. That is why we are asking for the public’s help.”
Currently, researchers still are unsure exactly how bats contract WNS and how it initially and, ultimately, affects a bat’s body. They cannot confirm whether the fungus appearing on some bats is a cause or a symptom of the disorder.
“We’re not asking people to go out of their way to help, but if you hike or walk or drive along back roads, and encounter dead or dying bats, we’d really like to hear from you,” Williams said. “Please don’t go in caves or mines or underground. And do not handle bats – dead or alive – and keep children and pets away from grounded bats. Even though there currently are no known human health implications associated with WNS, the Game Commission would prefer that people not handle any bats; we’ll take care of all of that. We just need residents to let us know if they find something suspicious.”
There are two quick and easy ways to report sick-acting or dead bats this winter. The first is by calling the nearest Game Commission region office. The second is by using the Game Commission’s “Report Sick Bats” form that can be accessed in the left-hand column of the agency’s homepage (www.pgc.state.pa.us).
Wenner also reported another interesting finding while investigating the state’s latest WNS site on Monday.
“It’s important to realize that once the bats leave the mine, the fungus is not very visible as moisture and flight seem to wear it off the bat,” Wenner said. “So, simply looking at a bat for white fungus will not necessarily confirm whether it is a clean, WNS-free bat. That’s why all bats should be left where found and reported to the Game Commission.”
For Region Office contact information, as well as a listing of counties each serves, please visit the agency’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), and click on “Contact Us” in the left-hand column and scroll down to the region listings.
For more information on bats, visit the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), select “Wildlife” and then click on the bat photo. To learn more about WNS, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s website at www.fws.gov/northeast/white_nose.html.
NOTE: For a series of photos to accompany this news release, please visit the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), click on “News Releases” and choose “Release #019-09.”
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For Information Contact: Jerry Feaser 717-705-6541 PGCNews@state.pa.us
SOURCE Pennsylvania Game Commission