Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Bat rescue
Bats have been dying around the country for several years and scientists are working on solutions to the problem. More than a dozen bat species nationwide have been devastated by white nose syndrome, an infectious fungal disease. It infects bats only while they hibernate. Now the National Park Service says has announced that last summer, a team of wildlife technicians and trail crew members moved a pile of debris that had blocked the entrance to a cave in the Great Smoky Mountains National park. It was an effort to reopen the cave after it had been sealed for a year by the rocks that had washed into the opening. The bats, who are awakened by the fungus multiple times during hibernation, end up starving to death or they die of exposure. Millions of bats have died since the disease was discovered in 2006. Now scientists are trying to develop treatments for bats in the wild, and the Smokies cave was the first in the experiment. The Smokies park has three species of bat; the Indiana bat, the little brown and the tri-color....and all three types have lost 91 to 95 percent of their population. Scientists point out that bats are crucial for insect population control, pollinating flowers and for sustaining certain cave ecosystems. Now that the cave has been re-opened, the scientists are waiting to see if the bat population will return, saying some have already entered the cave.

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