Mysterious Disease Linked To Death Of Bucks County Bat Colony - New York News

Mysterious Disease Linked To Death Of Massive Bucks County Bat Colony

Posted: Updated:
A member of the Pennsylvania Game Commission examines a bat inside of the abandoned iron ore mine in Durham, Pa. (Pennsylvania Game Commission) A member of the Pennsylvania Game Commission examines a bat inside of the abandoned iron ore mine in Durham, Pa. (Pennsylvania Game Commission)
BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. -

A mysterious die-off has caused a massive bat colony in upper Bucks County to all-but-disappear, and it's part of a mysterious disease that has so far killed at least 6 million bats across the United States.

Pennsylvania Game Commission biologist Greg Turner says only a handful of live bats remain at the abandoned iron ore mine in Durham, Pa. that was once home to thousands.

The only clue?

A white fungus, discovered around the muzzle and sometimes the wings of the cave-dwelling bats.

It's called White Nose Syndrome and it appears to have changed the bats' behavior during winter hibernation.

"The bats," says Turner, "seem to be rather lethargic and seem to be moving from their typical roost, toward the entrance, and then about mid-winter, they seem to be flying out of the hibernacula- which is the place where they spend the winter sleeping- and they just fly out into the middle of the winter and die."

It may be the fungus that rouses the bats from hibernation and causes them to become active without the body fat needed to handle such activity. They search in vain for food and die of starvation.

So why should you care?

Brenda Malinics has researched, rescued and rehabbed bats for years.

At Temple University, she's known as Bat Woman!

"Bats are the cornerstone of a healthy environment," Malinics tells FOX 29's Bruce Gordon. "They take care of the insects that destroy our crops and they take care of the insects that carry disease. And most people are not aware of the importance that bats play in our environment. But when the bats go away, we are going to be in dire straits and we're seeing that now."

Malinics says giving the bats extra protection in the form of endangered species status might help bring back their numbers, if scientists could figure out exactly what's killing them.

But extra protection for bats could hurt the logging and mining industries, making this a politically charged issue.

Bottom line?

The deaths of these bats puts the balance of nature out of whack, and that could impact all of us before long.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Driver-less cars highlights at NY Auto Show

    Driver-less cars highlights at NY Auto Show

    Friday, April 18 2014 1:46 PM EDT2014-04-18 17:46:00 GMT
    The future is here when it comes to vehicles. The auto industry has packed nearly 1,000 automobiles into the Jacob Javits Center on Manhattan's West Side for the 2014 NY Auto Show.   Among the 'must-sees' is a hydrogen-powered vehicle and a prototype with cameras that allow you to see the ground underneath as you drive over it.
    The future is here when it comes to vehicles. The auto industry has packed nearly 1,000 automobiles into the Jacob Javits Center on Manhattan's West Side for the 2014 NY Auto Show.   Among the 'must-sees' is a hydrogen-powered vehicle and a prototype with cameras that allow you to see the ground underneath as you drive over it.
  • Christians around world mark Good Friday

    Christians around world mark Good Friday

    Friday, April 18 2014 1:34 PM EDT2014-04-18 17:34:50 GMT
    From the Holy Land to the streets of New York City, Christians have commemorated the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in Good Friday prayers and processions. Thousands of Christian pilgrims filled the cobblestone alleyways of the Old City on Friday along the Via Dolorosa, Latin for the "Way of Suffering." In NYC, Timothy Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio lead followers across the Brooklyn Bridge.
    From the Holy Land to the streets of New York City, Christians have commemorated the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in Good Friday prayers and processions. Thousands of Christian pilgrims filled the cobblestone alleyways of the Old City on Friday along the Via Dolorosa, Latin for the "Way of Suffering." In NYC, Timothy Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio lead followers across the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • NJ woman sues over "8theist" plate

    NJ woman sues over "8theist" plate

    Friday, April 18 2014 12:08 PM EDT2014-04-18 16:08:10 GMT
    New Jersey NewsNew Jersey News
    A New Jersey woman has filed a lawsuit against the state's Motor Vehicle Commission, claiming the agency rejected her application for a license plate proclaiming she's an Atheist. Shannon Morgan filed the suit in federal court, saying the rejection of a plate reading "8THEIST" is a violation of her First Amendment rights. The Maurice River Township woman claims plates reading "BAPTIST" have been approved.
    A New Jersey woman has filed a lawsuit against the state's Motor Vehicle Commission, claiming the agency rejected her application for a license plate proclaiming she's an Atheist. Shannon Morgan filed the suit in federal court, saying the rejection of a plate reading "8THEIST" is a violation of her First Amendment rights. The Maurice River Township woman claims plates reading "BAPTIST" have been approved.

Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices