Mystery Plague Wiping Out Northeastern Bat Population

BOSTON GLOBE: A mysterious and deadly sickness that has killed off thousands of bats in New York has now been discovered in two Western Massachusetts mines. Researchers say they expect to find more affected wintering bat populations as they lead expeditions into dark caves and mines in the Northeastcityhallbats.jpg over coming weeks. They predict that hundreds of thousands of the furry creatures will be wiped out before the end of winter.

The illness – known as white nose syndrome, because some afflicted bats have a white fungus on their noses – does not appear to pose any risk to people, but the US Fish and Wildlife Service is asking the public to stay out of caves and mines in the Northeast because humans may be inadvertently transmitting the sickness to bats.

“No one has a clue what is going on,” said Tom French, assistant director of the natural heritage and endangered species program of the Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife, who helped find sick bats in Massachusetts. MORE


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