White-nose syndrome discovered in North Carolina, February, 2011
White-nose syndrome, the disease that has killed hundreds of thousands of bats in the Eastern United States, has been discovered in a retired Avery County mine and in a cave at Grandfather Mountain State Park, marking the arrival of the disease in North Carolina.

Although scientists have yet to fully understand white-nose syndrome, current knowledge indicates it’s likely caused by a newly discovered fungus, Geomyces destructans , which often grows into white tufts on the muzzles of infected bats, hence the disease’s name.

On Feb. 1, a team of Commission biologists were conducting a bat inventory of the closed mine where they saw numerous bats displaying symptomatic white patches of fungus on their skin. Five bats from the mine were sent to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study unit at the University of Georgia for testing, which confirmed the presence of white-nose syndrome.

In late January, a team of state, federal, and private biologists were conducting a bat inventory of a cave at Grandfather Mountain when they discovered a single dead bat. Following state white-nose syndrome surveillance protocols, the bat was sent for testing and it has been confirmed for white-nose syndrome.

The photos in this set are a combination of images taken from the mine and cave where white-nose syndrome was discovered, as well as images of biologists preparing to enter a retired mine in Haywood County that show the precautions biologists take to do their work while working to prevent the spread of the disease.

For more information visit: www.fws.gov/asheville/htmls/media/2011pressreleases/Febru...
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