On the Radio: White-nose Syndrome in Maquoketa Caves

Bat with White-nose Syndrome    –   Photo by USFWS Headquarters; Flickr

This week’s On the Radio segment covers the recent outbreak of the White-nose Syndrome in Maquoketa Caves State park. Listen to the audio below, or hit “continue reading” for the transcript.

One bat in Iowa’s Maquoketa Caves State Park has been found to carry a fungus which causes White-nose Syndrome.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Not only does the syndrome pose a threat on other bats in Iowa and around the Midwest, but it also raises economic concerns. Bats play a key role in eating insects which may carry disease or have a negative impact on farms. Thanks to the bats, farmers save approximately 22-billion-dollars each year on insecticides.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources officials are now in the process of trying to keep the fungus from spreading outside of the cave. Park officials have chosen to keep the park open to visitors in order to raise awareness about White-nose Syndrome. The park also added mats with disinfection solution to decrease the potential of spreading the fungus to other caves and bat populations through visitor contact.  However, bat specialists from the Center for Biological Diversity say park officials should reconsider the decision to keep the cave open, because this may cause an increased risk of the disease spreading.

For more information about the fungus threat to Iowa bats, visit iowaenvironmentalfocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Jerry Schnoor.

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