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Pennsylvania seeks public help to track White-Nose Syndrome in bats

From the Pennsylvania Game Commission

-- Hibernating bats continue to fall to White Nose Syndrome which has caused cave bat population reductions in New York and New England over the past three winters. It surfaced near Albany in 2006. Game Commission officials say they expect cave bat mortalities this winter if the disorder spreads through hibernacula as it did New York and New England over the previous winters.

To track the effects of WNS, the Game Commission is asking the public to report winter-flying bats or dead and dying bats on the landscape.

“If you’re outside this winter and observe bats, we really need to hear from you,” said Lisa Williams, Game Commission biologist.

“While an occasional dead or disoriented bat is not unheard of in winter, we need residents to let us know if they find multiple bats outside of buildings this winter. White Nose Syndrome causes bats to fly out of their winter shelters and die on the landscape. By assisting us with surveillance, you can help us identify new die-offs so we can conduct a site investigation. Of course, common sense safety rules apply. Do not go in caves or mines or underground. Do not handle bats – dead or alive, and keep children and pets away from dead or grounded bats.”

To report sick-acting or dead bats this winter, Pennsylvania residents can call the nearest Game Commission region office or use the “Report a Sick Bat” form that can be accessed in the right-hand column of the agency’s homepage www.pgc.state.pa.us.

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