Linville Gorge – White Nose Syndrome?
This March I was kayaking the Linville Gorge with some friends when we spotted a bat flying nearby. At first I wondered, “is that a bat,” since I haven’t seen one since last summer or fall. To me it seemed a bit cold, in the high 30s that day, and early in the year for bats to be out. After some discussion the three of us agreed that perhaps this bat had been infected with White Nose Syndrome, a fungal growth that has killed over a million bats, mainly on the east coast, in the past five years. In a nutshell, what happens is the fungus wakes hibernating bats who are then unable to survive, therefore they perish. Personally, I don’t know a whole lot more about the syndrome, except that people are urged to stay out of caves in the interest of the bat’s health. Going in and out of caves is thought to possibly spread the fungus and potentially infecting more bats. Links to some informative articles can be seen at the bottom of this post.