90% of Tower Soudan Underground Mine Bats Have Died To Do Fungus
The White Nose Syndrome is a fungal disease that kills bats. It has been spreading further west in the last 10 years, and it's even made it's way to the Tower Soudan Underground Mine. Several years ago I was at the mine and noticed that they took preventative measures of scraping visitors shoes on cleansing mats before going down the mine. It doesn't appear to have stopped the problem, as a new report suggests that 90% of the bat population in that mine alone have died.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has done another periodic bat survey, and it doesn't look good. According to the Star Tribune, statewide 90-94% of the bat population has been killed off.
The fungus was first discovered in 2007, and produces a white powder substance on the nose of the bats. The disease doesn't pose a threat to humans, pets, livestock, or migrating bats.
If you'd like to help the bats, build a bat house so they have a safe place to go and heal.
So how does the fungus kill the bats? It forms on their faces and wings, and when the bats are hibernating, they periodically wake up to try to remove the fungus. The energy spent on that is too great as they barely survive hibernation anyway. They end up dying from a lack of energy to make it through the winters.
If we lose these bats, the eco system will suffer. They eat mosquitoes and moths and they also pollinate. Those insects going unchecked could cause far reaching implications.