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Originally published: 2013-05-08 14:05:31
Last modified: 2013-05-08 14:05:30

Bats in peril

Biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have determined that white-nose syndrome continues to decimate bat populations in Western North Carolina, with some infected locations showing up to a 95 percent decline in hibernating bats over the past one to two years. The disease, which has been confirmed in seven counties in Western North Carolina, does not affect people.
Wildlife Commission biologists surveying bat populations have documented declining bat populations by site. The number of bats hibernating in a retired mine in Avery County has plummeted from more than 1,000 bats prior to WNS to around 65 bats in Just the two years since the disease was discovered. At a mine in Haywood County, the number of bats hibernating dropped from nearly 4,000 bats to about 250 bats in only one year. At a cave in McDowell County, numbers dropped from almost 300 to only a few bats remaining this winter.