NY Epicenter of Bat Disease

Some NY bat populations are down 95% because of white nose sydrome, which first appeared in 2006 and now reaches halfway across the country. The little brown bat and northern long-eared are the hardest hit.

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NY Considers Capturing Bats to Save Them

little brown bat

“[New York state conservation officials] just held a summit and decided to pluck them out of the wild, but where to put them?” says Kasimoff, one of only a handful of people across the state that can care for bats, which require a special license because they can carry rabies. Kasimoff currently is minding 30 bats at the Bat World Big Apple, a shelter she runs out of her home on Long Island as part of Bat World International. New York state in particular wants to save the little brown bats–if any are left.

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Top 10 Places in the U.S. to See Bats

AnimalTourism.com has compiled a list of the best bat-viewing sites around the country. We show you the reason for the ranking: we prefer big bat numbers, close to where people live or exotic bat species. The top 10 has at least one from each region.

Bat-viewing got its start in Austin. The city, along with  Bat Conservation International, transformed seeing bats at night from a nuisance to a major tourist attraction. Austin accidentally built itself a model bat house in the Congress Avenue Bridge and BCI stepped in to show us all how to enjoy the show. Instead of having to tear down a major bridge, Austin celebrates its bats. Mayor Lee Effingel just announced that Austin will now have an annual Night of the Bat celebration in June and he wants the bat to be the city’s official animal. Adam West will appear, they’re be a screening of a batman movie and BCI will have a live bat show. The great thing about Austin is, you don’t even have to go out of your way to see bats; after dusk they’re all over.

Texas is definitely bat central, but plenty of places around the country have great bat fly-outs. State and federal parks get in on the action with summertime dusk bat events. White-nosed syndrome has wiped out about a million bats nationwide, according to BCI. The caves in the northeast are hit especially hard, with 90% of the bats in Hibernia, NJ, wiped out, according to NJ.com.

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Show Caves Take Show Precautions for Bats

The next time you visit Howe Caverns, you might be asked to wipe your feet to save the bats. The Fish and Wildlife Service recently asked people to stay out of caves, fearing they might spread white-nosed syndrome, which is devastating bats in the northeast. The precaution is two-fold: they also don’t want cavers disturbing hibernating bats because waking up costs them a lot of energy.The AP reports commercial caves, also known as show caves, are getting in on the act by asking people to wipe their feet on antifungal mats. Really I think is more of a show precaution for show caves. Throngs of tourists make these caves unappealing to bats. The tourists tend to stay on well-worn paths. And they’re more likely a family visiting a random cave on a roadtrip than a bunch of cave groupies who go cave to cave.

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To the Bat Cave–or Maybe Just Outside the Bat Cave’s Entrance

The federal government wants you to stay out of caves to help save bats. They fear white-nose syndrome, which has kill up to a million bats in the northeast is spreading. States as far away as Georgia are thinking about closing down caves, Mark Davis reports in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Now big caves around the country are debating the proposition of closing to save their big attraction.

A fungus is believed to be behind the mysterious illness that leaves bats starving at the end of hibernation. Scientists know that the sick bats wake up a lot more during hibernation, but are not sure if that’s a cause or effect. Either way, they don’t want anybody barging in on their caves and waking them up. Of course, that won’t be much of an issue over the summer.

There are a ton of great places to see bats around the country. People have finally caught on to the allure of seeing thousands of bats stream out of a dark hole at dusk. And we’ve finally realized that they aren’t going to deliberately fly into our hair or suck our blood. It would be a shame to lose all of our goodwill toward bats.

The Wildlife Service seems to be talking about cavers, that is people who actually go in the caves, not hang out outside waiting for the fly-out. They say caves visited by cavers have seen more of the disease and fear it might be spread on equipment. So

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