So far, the bats that have been afflicted by this mysterious malady, dubbed “white-nose sydrome,” have been confined to caves in New York, Massachusetts and Vermont. But here in Western North Carolina, cavers are on the alert for early warning signals, and many have started taking precautions such as decontaminating their gear when going from cave to cave.
The sickness, which has resulted in massive bat die-offs up north, appears to be affecting all species of bats. So far, wildlife biologists have been unsuccessful in their search for answers. The federally endangered Indiana Bat in particular has been dealt a hefty blow since this alarming threat surfaced.
— Rebecca Bowe, contributing editor