Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

AR: White-nose syndrome not detected in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK – Officials from the Arkansas Game and Fish
Commission (AGFC) and the U.S. Forest Service have completed
monitoring surveys for white-nose syndrome, a disease that affects
many species of bats, and have not identified it in any monitored
caves in Arkansas. White-nose syndrome is responsible for killing
more than one million bats in the northeastern United States since
it was first identified in 2006.

“Winter is the time of year when white nose is most easily
detected,” said Blake Sasse, AGFC wildlife biologist. “The effects
of the disease wake hibernating bats during a time of the year when
insects are scarce, resulting in starvation. Dead bats can be found
at the mouths of caves or other hibernacula.”

Since white-nose syndrome was discovered, it has been confirmed
in 16 states and is suspected in three others. Three of those
states, Oklahoma, Missouri and Tennessee, border Arkansas, but
white-nose syndrome has only been confirmed from Tennessee.

“We’re glad that white-nose syndrome has not been identified in
any caves on the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests,” said Judith
Henry, Forest Supervisor. “We plan to remain vigilant when it comes
to doing everything we can to reduce the chance for the disease to
move into caves we manage.”

All caves on AGFC-owned property have been closed to public
access because the fungus responsible for white-nose syndrome can
be spread on clothing and caving equipment. All caves and mines in
the Ouachita National Forest have been closed to public access. The
Ozark-St. Francis National Forest also has closed all caves and
mines, except Blanchard Springs Caverns near Mountain View, a
popular show cave. Strict white-nose syndrome protocols are being
followed at Blanchard Springs Caverns to prevent the introduction
of the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome.

For more information on white-nose syndrome, visit
www.fws.gov/whitenosesyndrome or
http://www.agfc.com/species/Pages/WhiteNoseSyndrome.aspx. The
Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also have an
educational video on white-nose syndrome available at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlOehbW2V5I.

 

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