Die-off from Unknown Cause Threatens Bat Populations
"Responding to an unprecedented die-off of thousands of hibernating bats in New York, biologists and researchers from around the country are working to determine the cause of death, and to assess the threat to bat populations nationwide. The disorder, dubbed white-nose syndrome (WNS) because of the presence of a white fungus around the muzzles of some affected bats, is a major concern to the bat conservation community. It is unknown if the fungus is contributing to the deaths or whether it is a symptom of another problem. Human health implications are not known; there is no information indicating that people have been affected after visiting sites where WNS has been found.
White-nose syndrome was first detected at caves and mines in New York last winter, where it is believed to be associated with the deaths of approximately 8,000 to 11,000 bats. This winter, WNS has again been found at the previously affected New York sites, and has spread to at least five other caves or mines there as well as one cave in Vermont. Over 200,000 bats hibernate at these sites. (...)"
Full Text: Fws.gov