White-Nose Syndrome Discovered in Kentucky’s Crumps Cave

February 19, 2015 / Kentucky, United States, North America
Tri-colored bat with visible symptoms of WNS in Georgia's Cloudland Canyon State Park.

Tri-colored bat with visible symptoms of WNS in Georgia’s Cloudland Canyon State Park. Photo by Pete Pattavina/USFWS

Western Kentucky University announced earlier this week that White-nose Syndrome has been positively identified in Crumps Cave in Kentucky’s northern Warren County.

During a routine bat survey of the Western Kentucky University owned cave on February 10th, the team, led by Dr. Rick Toomey, Director of the Mammoth Cave International Center for Science and Learning, were disheartened to discover that the second bat they came across exhibited the unmistakable signs of Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome.

All told, 12 of the 53 Tri-colored bats (Perimyotis subflavus) surveyed by the team had clear signs of WNS. A number of big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) were also found, however they all appeared to be healthy.

Since White Nose arrived in Kentucky in 2012, and Mammoth Cave National Park the year after, we have guessed that it’s just a matter of time until it got to Crumps. It was still really hard to actually see it there. Dr. Chris Groves, WKU’s Crawford Hydrology Laboratory Director

The discovery is particularly concerning as the two-kilometer (1.2 mile) long cave also serves as a summer colony of federally endangered gray bats (Myotis grisescens).

Located approximately 25 miles northeast of the Western Kentucky University campus, Crumps Cave Research and Education Preserve was purchased by Western Kentucky University in 2008 through a grant from the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund Board (KHLCFB), a state agency that uses funds from conservation license plates and environmental fines paid to the state to provide grants for the purchase of land to preserve it for conservation.

[via WKU News]

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