A mysterious disease ravaging bat populations in northeast United States may be spreading westward. It’s a fungus called white-nose syndrome. The Center for Biological Diversity has sent letters to state officials, urging them to close state-owned bat caves to prevent the spread. Bats help control populations of insects.
Bat-to-bat and bat-to-cave transmission appear to be the more common means by which white-nose syndrome is spread, but scientists believe that the newly discovered fungus for which the disease is named can also be spread by people on contaminated caving gear, clothing, and other equipment [Press release, Center for Biological Diversity].
Bat houses are often placed near gardens and homes to give bats a place to hang out–seriously. My good friends, Caralee Woods and Jimmy Henley, had a bat house near Eagle Mountain Lake in Fort Worth, Texas.
A rancher near Kerrville, Texas, had a bat cave constructed on his ranch and after several years, bats began to populate the cave.
New Mexico and the American Southwest have been alerted, writes the New York Times.