In 2006, a new disease called White Nose Syndrome (WNS) appeared in New York that decimated bat populations. This disease, caused by a cold-loving fungus, appears as a white dusting on the nose of bats has progressed westward as far as Missouri, and there is fear that it will continue its deadly march through to Colorado. Yet, if it did, would we know? The nocturnal and secretive nature of bats makes monitoring their populations challenging. That, in addition to the fact we have little knowledge of where many bats overwinter in Colorado, would make detection of a WNS-induced decline would be all but impossible to identify. There may be an alternative, however. We may be able to monitoring summer (breeding) populations of bats to identify population-level declines.
|Bats in flight around ranch house on a star-filled night |
(Photo by George Fargo)
|Schorr releases a female little brown bat after marking (Photo by George Fargo)|
|Jeremy Siemers and Rob Schorr assembling a 12-foot-tall harp trap |
for capturing bats (Photo by Paul Cryan)