Kathy Welsh

Kathy Welsh

Avoid Caves, Mines to Protect New York’s Bat Populations

A northern long-eared bat
in its hibernaculum. DEC photo

NEW YORK – The DEC urges outdoor adventurers to avoid exploring caves and mines that may be home to hibernating bats.

Even a single, seemingly quiet visit can kill bats that would otherwise survive the winter.

Disturbing hibernating bats forces them to raise their body temperature and deplete their fat reserves, their only source of energy until spring.

Bats affected by white-nose syndrome are especially vulnerable.

First documented in 2007, white-nose syndrome has killed more than 90 percent of bats at hibernation sites in New York.

If you see hibernating bats in a cave, leave immediately.

Anyone entering a northern long-eared bat (NLEB) hibernation site from Oct. 1 through Apr. 30–the typical period of hibernation for bats–may be subject to prosecution.

NLEBs (pictured here) are listed as a threatened species.

There is currently no treatment for bats suffering from white-nose syndrome.

DEC and the state Department of Health are partnering with the National Wildlife Health Center and experts at universities across the country to better understand the disease and develop a treatment.


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