Monday, February 6th, 2023
Monday, February 6th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Virginia Confirms Cases of White-Nose Syndrome in Bats

Richmond, VA — The Virginia Department of Game and Inland
Fisheries (VDGIF) has received results from specimens sent for
analysis to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wildlife
Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, and the news is not good. The
results confirm the presence of the fungus associated with
white-nose syndrome (WNS) in bats from two caves in Virginia.

While conducting winter surveys of caves where bats hibernate,
known as hibernacula, biologists and volunteers from VDGIF, the
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service, and the Virginia Speleological Survey
discovered bats that showed signs of WNS in Breathing Cave in Bath
County. Soon after, similar clinical signs were found in bats in
Clover Hollow Cave in Giles County.

The impact of white-nose syndrome on bat populations could be
highly significant if the condition cannot be controlled and
continues to spread. Some WNS caves in New York have experienced
declines of more than 90% of the bat populations. Losses in bat
populations of this magnitude will cause a substantial ripple
effect due to the important role that bats play as insect feeders,
as a food source for other animals (hawks, owls, raccoons, skunks,
and other animals that prey on bats), and with their contributions
to cave ecosystems.

Given these recent findings, VDGIF is emphasizing the request it
made last month for recreational cavers to refrain from entering
caves. The Department has closed the caves on its wildlife
management areas. Because of the potential impact of WNS, the VDGIF
urges cavers and cave owners to help Virginia’s bat populations by
reducing cave traffic until more is learned about this
syndrome.

For more information about white-nose syndrome and about the
bats of Virginia, visit www.dgif.virginia.gov.

It is the mission of the VDGIF to maintain optimum populations
of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth; to provide
opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and
related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the
rights of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for
in the Constitution of Virginia; to promote safety for persons and
property in connection with boating, hunting and fishing; to
provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an
awareness of and appreciation for Virginia’s fish and wildlife
resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing, and boating
opportunities.

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