You may have heard some news about a condition affecting the U.S. bat population outside of Texas. It’s known as White Nose Syndrome and has been responsible for the death of over a million bats.
While Natural Bridge Caverns is very concerned about the effect White Nose Syndrome is having on these extremely valuable members of our ecosystem, it’s important for you to know these facts:
- Natural Bridge Caverns is NOT home to a bat colony.
- We’re open for tours.
- Natural Bridge Caverns is raising awareness and funds for White Nose Syndrome.
What is White Nose Syndrome (WNS)?
Since its discovery in a New York cave in 2006, WNS has spread quickly to the north, south and west. It is believed this disease, which is infecting only bats, primarily is spread from bat to bat and has only affected those bats that hibernate during the winter. White Nose Syndrome disrupts the hibernation cycle and causes bats to emerge mid-winter, exposing them to starvation (since their food source is not available at that time of year) and freezing temperatures. The disease also can compromise their immune system and can damage or scar their wings. White Nose Syndrome has a high mortality rate of 75% or greater. WNS does not infect humans and is not known to infect any animals other than bats.
There is still much that is not known about White Nose Syndrome, and Natural Bridge Caverns has taken an active role in supporting research and informing the public about the disease and how they can help.
- Our Tour Guides have received special training to help educate our visitors about WNS during Cavern tours.
- Signage explaining White Nose Syndrome is on display at Natural Bridge Caverns and informative pamphlets are available for pick up.
- Proceeds from the sale of bat-themed merchandise, a recyclable shopping bag in the Natural Bridge Caverns Gift Shop, and a "Penny Press" machine will benefit Bat Conservation International's White Nose Syndrome Rapid Response Fund.
- Natural Bridge Caverns has made a contribution to Bat Conservation International earmarked for the White Nose Syndrome Fund.
To donate to BCI's WNS Rapid Response Fund, click here.
To learn more about WNS, please click on the below links.