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Bat Syndrome

November 19, 2009

Researchers unveil a bold plan to save endangered bats from a deadly fungus.


Bats in peril…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Bats across the northeastern United States are dying from a mysterious condition called white-nose syndrome. It strikes during winter hibernation and can kill up to 90% of the bats in a cave. Experts think a fungal infection is to blame. Smithsonian Conservation and Research Center biologist Warren Lynch is concerned that the syndrome could soon spread to the five remaining caves known to house the endangered Virginia Big-Eared bat.

WARREN LYNCH (Smithsonian Conservation and Research Center):
If the white-nose syndrome gets into those caves, it could have a devastating effect on the population overall.

In addition to looking for cures, Lynch and his colleagues have begun an ambitious plan to breed the bats in captivity, something that’s never been attempted before in bats. This insurance population could come to the rescue if the bats go extinct in the wild. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.