Thursday, March 22, 2012

Deadly bat disease spreads into 2 popular national parks

SUMMIT COUNTY —A devastating disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the country has spread into two popular national parks: Acadia National Park in Maine and Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina. Together these two parks host more than 11 million visitors each year.

“Discovery of white-nose syndrome at two of our leading national parks is particularly troubling because of the vital role these parks play in safeguarding wildlife and plant populations,” said Mollie Matteson, a bat specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity.

White-nose syndrome has killed almost 7 million bats in North America. The disease has previously been documented at smaller Park Service units, including Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in New Jersey, in 2009, and Russell Cave National Monument in Alabama, where the disease was confirmed just last week. Read More