Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

January 17, 2013

Infected bat found at cave in Mammoth Cave National Park

Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — A disease known to be deadly to bats has been detected in a cave located within Mammoth Cave National Park’s boundaries.

Mammoth Cave officials issued a press release about the detection of the disease, white-nose syndrome, on Wednesday.

“It grieves me to make this announcement,” said Sarah Craighead, superintendent of the national park in the press release. “A northern long-eared bat, showing symptoms of white-nose syndrome, was found in Long Cave in the park. The bat was euthanized on Jan. 4 and sent for laboratory testing. Those tests confirmed white-nose syndrome.”

Long Cave, which is an undeveloped cave that is 1.3 miles long, is the national park’s largest bat hibernaculum, housing endangered Indiana bats and gray bats, along with other non-threatened species. Long Cave is not connected to Mammoth Cave and has not been open to visitors for more than 80 years, the press release stated.

“White-nose syndrome is mostly spread from bat to bat,” said Tres  Seymour, a Mammoth Cave spokesman, adding the fungus Gemoyces destructans causes the disease.

“Generally speaking, the most devastating impact is among colonial bats; that is bats that hibernate or roost together,” he said.

Bats that have the fungus spores on them end up rubbing against other bats while hibernating and will spread the disease, Seymour said.

For the full story, see the print or e-edition of Friday's Glasgow Daily Times.