Fungus Threatens Bats in Iowa

Photo by Michael Kappel; Flickr

A fungus, Geomyces destructans, has been found on a single bat in Maquoketa Caves State Park. The fungus causes white-nose syndrome (WNS), a desease that has killed 7 million bats since 2006.

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Senator seeks to reopen Maquoketa caves

Photo by stephadamo, Flickr.

Senator Tod Bowman has filed legislation that would force the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to reopen the caves at Maquoketa Caves State Park.

Bowman, (D) Maquoketa, says that the caves are a valuable source of entertainment and tourism for the area, and claims the park has lost tens of thousands of visitors since the caves closed in 2009.

“The people that visit the caves have a tremendous economic impact that trickle down to the main street, the businesses that you know, legislators are very concerned about,” said Bowman.

The Iowa DNR closed the caves to protect bats from a fungus known as “white nose syndrome,” but Bowman’s legislation argues that the fungus is mostly transmitted through bat-to-bat contact, and there have been no confirmed cases of white nose syndrome in Iowa.

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On the Radio: Iowa bat population at risk

Photo by Sergi Forns, Flickr

Check out this week’s radio segment here.  It discusses a disease called white-nose syndrome that is harming bats across the U.S. and is headed toward Iowa. Continue reading