Wildlife: White Nose Syndrome on the Move

Bats in a cave.

Bats in a cave. Photo © Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International, www.batcon.org

This is Passport to Texas

First discovered in 2006 / 2007 in upstate New York, white nose syndrome—a fungus that afflicts cave-hibernating bats—has killed an estimated 6 million animals thus far.

09—Texas is home to 32 species of bats; 18 of which are known to roost in some way, and many of those hibernate.

Texas Parks and Wildlife mammalogist, Jonah Evans says Texas bats are currently disease free, but not home free. Take migratory Mexican freetail bats, for example.

32— There is concern that they could act as a vector for the disease. So, if they get exposed to it – maybe they’re carrying it – and then they migrate down into Central and South America, and they expose a lot of other migratory bats that could then bring the disease into the western portion of the United States. So, it’s a lot of speculation, but there’s some concern that Texas could be a gateway from the eastern part of the US to the western if it gets into the migratory bats and then they expose a lot of the hibernating bats in the west.

Something that’s not speculation is how humans spread the disease from cave to cave, and how they can protect against it. That’s tomorrow.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series… and receives funds from your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuel.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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