Mysterious Disease Linked To Death Of Bucks County Bat Colony - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Mysterious Disease Linked To Death Of Massive Bucks County Bat Colony

Posted: Updated:
A member of the Pennsylvania Game Commission examines a bat inside of the abandoned iron ore mine in Durham, Pa. (Pennsylvania Game Commission) A member of the Pennsylvania Game Commission examines a bat inside of the abandoned iron ore mine in Durham, Pa. (Pennsylvania Game Commission)
BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. -

A mysterious die-off has caused a massive bat colony in upper Bucks County to all-but-disappear, and it's part of a mysterious disease that has so far killed at least 6 million bats across the United States.

Pennsylvania Game Commission biologist Greg Turner says only a handful of live bats remain at the abandoned iron ore mine in Durham, Pa. that was once home to thousands.

The only clue?

A white fungus, discovered around the muzzle and sometimes the wings of the cave-dwelling bats.

It's called White Nose Syndrome and it appears to have changed the bats' behavior during winter hibernation.

"The bats," says Turner, "seem to be rather lethargic and seem to be moving from their typical roost, toward the entrance, and then about mid-winter, they seem to be flying out of the hibernacula- which is the place where they spend the winter sleeping- and they just fly out into the middle of the winter and die."

It may be the fungus that rouses the bats from hibernation and causes them to become active without the body fat needed to handle such activity. They search in vain for food and die of starvation.

So why should you care?

Brenda Malinics has researched, rescued and rehabbed bats for years.

At Temple University, she's known as Bat Woman!

"Bats are the cornerstone of a healthy environment," Malinics tells FOX 29's Bruce Gordon. "They take care of the insects that destroy our crops and they take care of the insects that carry disease. And most people are not aware of the importance that bats play in our environment. But when the bats go away, we are going to be in dire straits and we're seeing that now."

Malinics says giving the bats extra protection in the form of endangered species status might help bring back their numbers, if scientists could figure out exactly what's killing them.

But extra protection for bats could hurt the logging and mining industries, making this a politically charged issue.

Bottom line?

The deaths of these bats puts the balance of nature out of whack, and that could impact all of us before long.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Only On Fox: Arsonist On The Loose In South Jersey Town

    Only On Fox: Arsonist On The Loose In South Jersey Town

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 4:45 PM EDT2014-04-16 20:45:07 GMT
    It started with a brush fire, then another fire at the rear of this home on Monroe Street and finally a blaze that swept through this vacant home up the block, just a few feet away from where Emma Sethman
    It started with a brush fire, then another fire at the rear of this home on Monroe Street and finally a blaze that swept through this vacant home up the block, just a few feet away from where Emma Sethman
  • Kraft Foods Group Recalls 96,000 Pounds Of Hot Dogs

    Kraft Foods Group Recalls 96,000 Pounds Of Hot Dogs

    Sunday, April 20 2014 7:34 PM EDT2014-04-20 23:34:34 GMT
    Kraft Foods Group, Inc. has issued a recall for approximately 96,000 pounds of Oscar Mayer Classic Wieners.
    Kraft Foods Group, Inc. has issued a recall for approximately 96,000 pounds of Oscar Mayer Classic Wieners.
  • Four Injured In Car Crash On I-295

    Four Injured In Car Crash On I-295

    Four Injured In Car Crash On I-295

    Sunday, April 20 2014 6:18 PM EDT2014-04-20 22:18:55 GMT
    Four people were taken to the hospital on Sunday afternoon after a two car collision on the southbound lanes of I-295 in West Deptford.Police say the driver of a Nissan and another vehicle with 3 passengers collided. Their vehicles ended up stopped on the left lane of I-295. All four victims were taken to local hospitals with minor injuries.The far left lane of I-295 southbound was blocked as crews cleared the scene.
    Four people were taken to the hospital on Sunday afternoon after a two car collision on the southbound lanes of I-295 in West Deptford.Police say the driver of a Nissan and another vehicle with 3 passengers collided. Their vehicles ended up stopped on the left lane of I-295. All four victims were taken to local hospitals with minor injuries.The far left lane of I-295 southbound was blocked as crews cleared the scene.
Powered by WorldNow

KRIV FOX 26
4261 Southwest Freeway
Houston, TX 77027

Phone: (713) 479-2801
Fax: (713) 479-2859

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices