Mother Jones magazine reports that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has confirmed the presence of white-nose syndrome at Fern Cave National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama — reportedly one of the most spectacular caves in the country and a prime habitat for bats.
This cave provides winter hibernation space for several bat species, including the largest documented wintering colony of endangered gray bats. More than a million individuals of this federally listed and IUCN listed species nest at Fern Cave.
“With over a million hibernating gray bats, Fern Cave is undoubtedly the single most significant hibernaculum for the species,” says Paul McKenzie, Endangered Species Coordinator for USFWS. “Although mass mortality of gray bats has not yet been confirmed from any WNS infected caves in which the species hibernates, the documentation of the disease from Fern Cave is extremely alarming and could be catastrophic.”
More information can be found on the White-Nose Syndrome.org website.