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News stories tagged with "bats"

An infected bat at the Greeley Mine in Vermont (Photo: USFWS)
An infected bat at the Greeley Mine in Vermont (Photo: USFWS)

As bats return to winter caves, white-nose disease expected to spread fast

Last week, the US Fish & Wildlife Service issued preliminary guidelines urging roughly two-dozen states to prepare for the arrival of "white nose syndrome." That's the deadly fungal disease that has wiped out bat colonies across northern New York and Vermont. White nose was first discovered in a cave near Albany. Some of the hardest hit sites are in the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains, where researchers estimate that hundreds of thousands of animals have died. Brian Mann spoke yesterday with Jeremy Coleman, with the Fish and Wildlife Service. Coleman is the national coordinator for the hundreds of scientists working to develop a response to white nose syndrome.  Go to full article
Part of the Maple Ridge Wind Farm. (Photo by David Chanatry.)
Part of the Maple Ridge Wind Farm. (Photo by David Chanatry.)

Birds, bats, and wind

Every state in the northeast has set a target for increasing the amount of renewable energy it produces. Wind power is a big part of this push. Those towers and turbine blades can pose dangers to birds and bats. With more interest nationally in developing wind power, scientists are searching for more answers about the impacts, and how to minimize them.

The North Country is already home to the biggest wind farm in the east. Maple Ridge wind farm's 195 turbines tower over the Tug Hill Plateau in Lewis County. That's where David Chanatry visited to file this report as part of a collaboration of northeast stations. (Northeast environmental hub coverage is part of NPR's Local News Initiative.)  Go to full article
Dead and dying bats in Vermont's Aeolus Cave (Photo:  Brian Mann)
Dead and dying bats in Vermont's Aeolus Cave (Photo: Brian Mann)

Story 2.0: Lake George bat cave nearly depopulated by 'white nose syndrome'

State Conservation biologist Al Hicks says the old Graphite Mine in the town of Hague near Lake George has seen its population of Little Brown Bats nearly wiped out. Hicks spoke over the weekend at a gathering of the Adirondack Nature Conservancy in Newcomb. He said the hibernaculum, which sits in a Nature Conservancy Preserve, has been infected by a deadly bat disease called "white nose syndrome."

"The Graphite Mine was the largest Little Brown colony counted in the world, with about 200,000 animals," Hicks said. "Our guess walking through was that there was about 3,000 animals left."

Hicks first raised the alarm about white nose syndrome in 2007. He said the latest research indicates that the disease continues to spread in all directions. "We have not seen any clear evidence yet of any kind of resistance," he added. "The animals that are surviving from one year to the next appear to be animals that simply got lucky and didn't get infected." White nose is now killing bats in at least nine states. Hicks predicted that under the worst case scenario "an entire order of mammals" would be wiped out from the United States.

As part of our Story 2.0 series, we revisit Hicks' trip to Aeolus Cave in Vermont last winter.  Go to full article
Dr. Brock Fenton's researchers fix tiny bats with radio transmitters (Source:  B. Fenton)
Dr. Brock Fenton's researchers fix tiny bats with radio transmitters (Source: B. Fenton)

As bat disease spreads, a Willsboro church becomes a laboratory

This summer, researchers are fanning out across the Northeast trying to get a clearer picture of what is happening to the region's bats. Scientists say many bat colonies have been wiped out by a fungal disease, called white-nose syndrome, first detected in 2006. One of the big questions still unanswered is how white-nose syndrome is transmitted. Brian Mann joined a team of biologists studying bats in an old church in Willsboro in the Champlain Valley.  Go to full article
Carl Herzog checks his equipment before a night on the road (Source:  C. Herzog, NYSDEC)
Carl Herzog checks his equipment before a night on the road (Source: C. Herzog, NYSDEC)

Bat songs in the Adirondacks silenced by white nose syndrome

This summer, researchers across the Northeast are working to measure the impact of white nose syndrome, a deadly disease that has wiped out bat population in the region. Scientists say whole colonies have been obliterated. Brian Mann rode along on a survey in the Adirondacks and has our story.  Go to full article
Dead bats on the floor of a cave in Vermont (Photo:  Brian Mann)
Dead bats on the floor of a cave in Vermont (Photo: Brian Mann)

At House panel, researchers call for action against devastating bat disease

A panel of experts testified on Capitol Hill yesterday about the devastating spread of "white nose syndrome," first detected in a Schoharie County cave in February 2006. They called it the biggest single threat to wildlife in the last century. The disease, named for the whitish dusting the fungus creates on bats' noses, ears and wings, has decimated bat populations across the Northeast is spreading rapidly into the mid-Atlantic and now into Canada. As Brian Mann reports, yesterday's hearing was part of an effort to win more money for research and response.  Go to full article
Mollie Matteson (Source: Center for Biological Diversity
Mollie Matteson (Source: Center for Biological Diversity

As "white nose" syndrome spreads, green groups want more funds for bat research

On Thursday morning in Washington DC, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on "white nose" syndrome. The mysterious ailment was first identified in upstate New York. It has since spread across the Northeast, killing hundreds of thousands of bats. Green groups are urging Congress to commit millions of dollars for new research and response efforts. Brian Mann spoke with Mollie Matteson in Richmond, Vermont. She's with a group called the Center for Biological Diversity.  Go to full article
A bat in Vermont's Aeolus Cave frozen in icicle (Source:  Brian Mann)
A bat in Vermont's Aeolus Cave frozen in icicle (Source: Brian Mann)

Scientists battling "white nose" bat disease prepare for worst

The mysterious ailment called "White-nose Syndrome" continues to decimate bat populations across the Northeast. A new outbreak was confirmed earlier this month in New Hampshire and the disease has spread as far as West Virginia. Scientists have begun collecting tissue from infected caves, here in the North Country and in Vermont, creating a genetic record of bat colonies that could vanish completely. As part of a collaboration with public radio stations across the Northeast, Brian Mann reports.  Go to full article
Little brown bats carpet the floor of Aeolus Cave in southern Vermont.
Little brown bats carpet the floor of Aeolus Cave in southern Vermont.

White nose syndrome spreading

Scientists are still scrambling to understand the mysterious bat ailment known as white nose syndrome. The disease is spreading fast, with new outbreaks confirmed in New Hampshire earlier this month and suspected in West Virginia. Todd Moe spoke with NCPR's Brian Mann who's been covering this story. He spent yesterday in a cave on Aeolus Mountain in southern Vermont.  Go to full article
Al Hicks inspects a bat for white nose syndrome.
Al Hicks inspects a bat for white nose syndrome.

New breakthrough in study of "white nose" bat disease

Researchers in New York state and around the country have made a major breakthrough in their study of "white nose syndrome." That's the mysterious ailment that's been killing thousands of bats (including endangered Indiana bats) in New York, Vermont, and around the Northeast. NPR's Dan Charles reported on the study; Brian Mann was in the cave with New York's top specialist, Al Hicks.  Go to full article

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