No bats have died yet, but the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has issued a press release noting the presence of the fungus that causes white nose syndrome in bats in two Arkansas caves.
Low levels of the fungus were detected from swab samples taken from hibernating bats in February 2012 and January 2013 at cave at Devil’s Den State Park in Washington County and a private cave located in southern Baxter County. Both are in northern Arkansas.
Arkansas had closed Devil’s Den Cave and Ice Box Cave at Devil’s Den State Park, and War Eagle Cave at Withrow Springs State Park to the public in 2010 to protect the bats there from white nose syndrome carried in from other infected locations by visitors.
Once the cold-loving nature of the white nose fungus became known, wildlife managers have hoped that the shorter, warmer winters in the south would protect the bats there from the syndrome. This Arkansas finding doesn’t change the assumption that shorter, warmer winters curtail the fungus’ effects. After all, no bats have died in these caves, and there has been no mention even of symptoms.
Read the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission press release here.
Most of these news reports are straight from the press release: