National Speleological Society Calls for Increased Cooperation between Public Agencies and Private Groups in White-Nose Syndrome Battle
By Richard Rhinehart ~ March 1st, 2010. Filed under: Caving News, Conservation.
Recognizing that cooperation and consultation is the best tool in combating the spread of the devastating White-Nose Syndrome among bats, the National Speleological Society today offered to several federal agencies the assistance of more than 11,000 members nationally.
The Huntsville, Alabama-based Society, chartered in 1941, is one of the largest cave exploration, science and conservation organizations in the world. With members in every state, the Society has unique resources available to federal, state and local agencies and land managers to investigate and combat the continued spread of the Syndrome.
With active Memorandums of Understanding already in place between the Society and the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Society and its membership has increasingly found itself identified by these agencies as a primary source of transmission of the fungus to uninfected bats in the eastern United States. Although research indicates that bat-to-bat transmission is probably a major source of transmission, and human transmission a secondary source, many bat biologists and federal and state land managers incorrectly believe human transmission is the only vector.
In its March 1 press release, the Society calls upon focusing strategies, resources and research on the primary source of transmission â€“ bat to bat.
The Society also recommends working with private cave conservancies across the country to assist with monitoring of their caves and bats, targeting cave closures to priority bat roosting sites and adapting scientifically-sound cleaning and decontamination procedures for visitors to caves, both for casual visitors and scientific researchers.
Noting that Society cavers have been â€śat the forefrontâ€ť of identifying and studying White-Nose Syndrome since it was first noticed in 2006, the Societyâ€™s President, Gordon Birkhimer, states cavers â€śbring a lot to the table â€“ nearly 70 years of cave resource conservation experience.â€ť Working together with agencies and groups that have cooperatively worked with the Society on a variety of projects these last seven decades simply is good common sense.
The National Speleological Society maintains one of the most complete and informative online resources on White Nose Syndrome, updated regularly with new reports.Tags: bats, National Speleological Society, White Nose Syndrome