Bat Disease Causes Soudan Mine Concerns

A disease responsible for the deaths of more than a million North American bats is a cause of concern for managers of Soudan Underground Mine State Park in northeastern Minnesota.

The Timberjay has the full story HERE.

Park managers are worried that white-nose syndrome could decimate its bat populations if the disease, which is prevalent in the eastern United States and has spread as far west as Oklahoma and Missouri, reaches Minnesota. White-nose disease affects hibernating bats and has a nearly 100% fatality rate. The disease is named for the white fungus that appears on the ears, wings, and muzzles of infected bats.

Soudan Mine State Park is home to thousands of bats, including the largest hibernating population in Minnesota of little brown myotis bats. For the moment, park managers are stressing eduction, but the state’s bat specialist is developing a state-wide response that may restrict the activity of visitors to the park as well as to other Minnesota mine and cave sites where bats hibernate.

Bats infected with White-Nose Syndrome, Photo Courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service

Elsewhere in the country, caves have been closed or visitors are prohibited from wearing into caves clothes which may have been worn in infected caves during the previous five years.

Find more information on the disease HERE.

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