The cumulative impact of wind power facilities in killing migratory bats threatens to become an environmental crisis that cannot be ignored. By 2012, more than 600,000 bats were being killed annually, and the number grows each year (Hayes 2013).
White-nose syndrome (WNS) is caused by a fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans (formerly known as Geomyces destructans). It was first recorded from a photo taken in a cave in Schoharie County, New York in 2006.
Bats are primary predators of the vast numbers of insects that fly at night, and some species consume large numbers of mosquitoes when they are available. However, mosquito control is a complex problem that rarely can be solved by a single approach, be it bat houses or pesticides.
Millions of tourists have watched free-tailed bat emergences from the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas over the past 35 years without anyone ever having been harmed. Signs warn visitors not to handle the bats.
“I learned to photograph bats as an act of desperation. If efforts to conserve bats were to succeed, people needed to see them as they naturally are–gentle, inquisitive, even beautiful.” -Merlin Tuttle Pictured is Merlin preparing to photograph newly tamed spectral bat (Vampyrum spectrum). This gentle and intelligent carnivorous species is one of Merlin’s favorites.
White-nose syndrome (WNS) is caused by a fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans). It has spread rapidly across North America since it apparently arrived from Europe in 2006, and it has killed millions of bats. However, because infected bats can quickly travel long distances, even the best efforts of wildlife managers, biologists, and cavers have failed to prevent its spread from coast to coast.
At a time when WNS is forcing increased arousals and high mortality due to premature exhaustion of limited fat reserves, every possible precaution must be taken to minimize disturbance and restore the best possible hibernation conditions.