Bat Threatened By Epidemic Proposed For Endangered Species Protection

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed Endangered Species Act protection on Tuesday for the northern long-eared bat, which has been devastated by the disease known as white-nose syndrome. The agency declined protection for the eastern small-footed bat. Colonies of the northern long-eared bat affected by white-nose syndrome have in many cases experienced 100 percent mortality. Protection for the bat is the result of a landmark agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity that requires the agency to make protection decisions for 757 species.

“The proposal to protect the northern long-eared bat comes not a moment too soon,” said Mollie Matteson, a bat specialist with the Center. “The devastation of this and other bat species in the eastern United States is not just a tragedy for the bats, but also for people who rely on the pest-control services of bats eating millions of insects.”

White-nose syndrome was first documented in a bat cave in upstate New York in 2006. It has since spread to 22 states and five Canadian provinces. The pathogenic fungus, which biologists believe was introduced from Europe, grows on the noses and wings of hibernating bats and appears to cause severe dehydration, disruption of crucial electrolyte levels, and frequent arousal from hibernation, leading to premature depletion of fat reserves. Scientists estimate nearly 7 million bats have died, and the disease has affected seven bat species.

“Endangered species status for the northern long-eared bat is not an automatic cure, but it does represent admission to the ICU,” said Ms. Matteson. “We know the species will now receive stronger protections under the law and that more resources will be available to address white-nose syndrome and other threats. But the eastern small-footed bat remains at grave risk, because it was already vulnerable before the bat disease, and things have only been getting worse.”

White-nose syndrome has been particularly catastrophic for the northern long-eared bat, which has suffered mortality rates approaching 100 percent in many bat colonies. The species ranges across much of the eastern United States into the Midwest, and all the way across Canada from Newfoundland to the Pacific. While western populations are unaffected by the disease at this time, most biologists studying the malady expect it to continue to spread across the continent, likely killing many more bats as it does so. In addition to white-nose syndrome, heavy logging and development threaten the northern long-eared bat, because it is a species associated with older forests.

Biologists long considered the eastern small-footed bat to be rare in most of its range, which covers parts of the eastern United States and southern extremes of Ontario and Quebec. While not sustaining the same horrific mortality rates from white-nose syndrome as northern long-eared bats, eastern small-footed bats have declined by an estimated 12 percent. The bat disease, in combination with ongoing threats to its habitat -- especially from mining and energy development -- is making this uncommon species even scarcer.

“We’re disappointed the eastern small-footed bat was not protected, despite the fact that essentially its entire range is now infected with white-nose syndrome,” said Ms. Matteson. “But we’re hopeful scientists will keep monitoring this unique bat.”             


Tennessee's 2014-15 Gun Season For Deer Starts Nov. 22

Tennessee’s gun season for deer an annual opening on the Saturday before Thanksgiving which this year falls on Nov. 22, for 2014-15. For the fourth year, sportsmen will find one continuous season that will continue through Jan. 4, 2015. The continuous season replaced the previously two segmented hunting seasons that were in place prior to 2011. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources ... (click for more)

Outdoor Chattanooga News And Events

Here are upcoming news and events from Outdoor Chattanooga:  Chattanooga Named Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community The League of American Bicyclists has named Chattanooga a  Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community , a step up from the bronze level that the community has maintained since 2007. The designation comes from improvements in all of our services ... (click for more)

2 Chattanooga Bounty Hunters In Jail After Man They Sought Not Home And They Take His Wife

Two Chattanooga bounty hunters are in jail near Atlanta after police said they took a man's wife away in handcuffs after the man they were seeking was not home. Khalil Abdullah and Kevin Roberson were charged with kidnapping, false arrest and false imprisonment. In an incident in Gwinnett County, police said the pair broke into a home wielding guns and found the man they were ... (click for more)

Bradley County Police Investigating Shooting; Victim Dies

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a shooting that occurred in the area of Georgetown Road. The sheriff's office said Sunday night that the victim had died. The victim's name has not yet been released.  A BCSO officer was waved down at the intersection of 25 th Street and Peerless Road by the driver of a vehicle who told the officer a gunshot victim ... (click for more)

When Black Friday Comes

So it’s Thanksgiving morning. You stumble out of bed and head to the bathroom to pee. Push the handle and away it goes (where does it go, anyway?) Better head to the kitchen and get the coffee on. While it’s brewing maybe a hot shower – love that gas water heater, I mean, it heats the water, and lots of it. Now time to enjoy a cup o’ joe and some breakfast while catching up with ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: UVa --Time For Change

The University of Virginia is, by any measure, one of the finest universities in the world. I have long admired it, whether covering dozens of sports events, cavorting with countless friends, or benefitting repeatedly from the surgical skills of the late world-class humanitarian Frank McCue. But today there is a terrible pall over “Mr. Jefferson’s university” – no, make that a ... (click for more)