Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Delivering Message to Oklahoma Cavers Regarding White-Nose Syndrome
Southwest Region, February 13, 2008
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 Richard Stark of the Oklahoma ES Field Office gave a presentation on white-nose syndrome (WNS) at the monthly meeting of the Tulsa Regional Oklahoma Grotto (TROG), the Tulsa-area chapter of the National Speleological Society.  In 2007, thousands of hibernating bats died in several New York caves.  Many of the dead bats had a white fungus around their mouth and nose.  It is unknown whether the fungus is causing the deaths or is symptomatic of a disease.  Bats with this white-nose syndrome have been observed again this year in New York and Vermont.  White-nose syndrome has not been observed in Oklahoma.  However, delivering information about WNS to Oklahoma cavers is important because WNS appears to be spreading and several federally-listed bat species occur in Oklahoma caves, primarily in the Ozark Highlands in the northeastern part of the state.  Research efforts are underway to identify the cause of the outbreaks and unprecedented die-offs, and to learn how it spreads.  The Service’s interim guidelines on what to do if WNS is observed in Oklahoma caves were provided.  These guidelines also have been made available on the Oklahoma ES Field Office’s webpage. 

FWS programs involved: Ecological Services

External partners involved: Tulsa Regional Oklahoma Grotto/National Speleological Society

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov
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