Saturday, April 16, 2011

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: An Endangered Species - The Extinction Of American Hibernating Bats As White-Nose Syndrome Kills 1 Million!

Biologists across the United States says that the bat population is declining rapidly and could become an endangered species. The preceding winter continued the decimation of several of the hibernating species, as the deadly White-Nose Syndrome spreads to more than a dozen states. The syndrome, named for the sugary smudges of fungus seen on the noses and wings of hibernating bats, has killed over 1 million bats since 2006.

A popular cave near Chinook Pass in Central Washington will be closed for part of the tourist season to help prevent the spread of the deadly white-nose syndrome in bats... Three bat species hibernate in Boulder Cave, including the rare Pacific Western "Townsend" big-eared bats. Just a few colonies of the tiny bats are known to exist in the Cascades. (The adults have a 10-inch wing span but weigh less than an ounce.) "If white-nose syndrome should reach Boulder Cave, it would have the potential to wipe out an entire gene pool," Jenkins said. The longer closure will reduce the risk of people introducing the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome into the cave while hibernating bats are present, Jenkins said. The fungus spreads from bat to bat and from cave to bat. People can carry spores on their clothing or gear, transporting the fungus to new locations. White-nose syndrome has killed more than 1 million bats in the United States and Canada since the first major bat die-off was documented near Albany, N.Y., in 2006. The fungus that causes the disease, Geomyces destructans, had been found as far west as Oklahoma, and wildlife biologists say it's a matter of time until the disease reaches the Northwest. - The Seattle Times
A mysterious disease that has devastated bat populations in the Northeast has been detected in a southwestern Kentucky cave, spurring officials to take precautions to try to prevent its spread in a state that's home to millions of the flying mammals. The presence of white-nose syndrome was confirmed early this month in a Trigg County cave, about 30 miles southeast of Paducah, wildlife officials said Wednesday. Checks of other area caves in a state with many caverns turned up no signs of the disease, they said. The disease has caused a mass die-off of bats in other states, and officials say a similar problem in Kentucky would have serious implications for agriculture since the mammals help control populations of mosquitoes and insects that can damage crops. "This is likely the most significant disease threat to wildlife Kentucky has ever seen," Jonathan Gassett, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, said in a statement." - Daily Journal
Bat colonies in Ohio are now diagnosed with white-nose syndrome, a fast-moving lethal disease first diagnosed in the US in 2006 that is sweeping across the eastern part of the country, leaving more than 1 million dead bats in its wake. The disease has also been found in a second county in Maryland and last week, Canadian officials announced the first discovery of the disease in New Brunswick. It has now been confirmed in 17 states and provinces. “This disease is burning through our bat populations like a five-alarm fire,” said Mollie Matteson, conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), according to a center news release. - Digital Journal
In a new study from the Science Magazine entitled The Economic Importance of Bats in Agriculture, evidence is shown that bats provide a very important pest-control service to the agriculture community, where in the United States insect-eating bats provide between $3.7 billion to $53 billion annually in insect control to agriculture. “Bats eat tremendous quantities of flying pest insects, so the loss of bats is likely to have long-term effects on agricultural and ecological systems,” said Justin Boyles, lead author of the study and researcher with the University of Pretoria, a US Geological Survey news release notes. “Consequently, not only is the conservation of bats important for the well-being of ecosystems, but it is also in the best interest of national and international economies.” This could have a severe and harmful effect, since the lost of insectivorous bats would be costly for farmers, the industry and the environment.

EARTH CHANGES: Massive Storms & Tornadoes Rages Across USA!

The death toll is rising quickly as a monstrously destructive storm system wrecks havoc across America, uprooting trees, destroying schools, and blowing down buildings with the blistering winds of sweeping tornadoes.

Powerful storms and tornadoes ripped across Mississippi and Alabama on Friday, toppling trees, snapping power lines and ripping off roofs. The city of Clinton, Mississippi, suffered "extensive damage" when a tornado touched down, according to Mississippi's Emergency Management Agency. The city's mayor said no one was injured in the storm, which tore the roof from a hotel and caused major damage to a bank and numerous homes. It narrowly missed an elementary school and a church daycare packed with about 650 children between them, she added. "We have a lot to be grateful for," Mayor Rosemary Aultman said. "It could have been a lot worse." The storm also tossed cars on Interstate 20, Aultman said. The interstate remained closed Friday afternoon, according to the Emergency Management Agency. The agency asked people to stay away from the area, and said it had deployed its mobile command post to oversee the response to the storm. The tornado in Clinton was one of several reported Friday in Mississippi and Alabama. There were numerous reports of damage to homes and businesses, but no immediate word of injuries from the outbreak. CNN affiliate WAPT in Jackson, Mississippi, showed video of the destroyed home of a teacher at Hinds Community College. Several of her students were at the house, helping to clean and salvage what they could from the wreckage. "I've never seen anything like this," said one student. "My heart dropped because it hurt me to see my teacher's home like this. ... I know it's hurting her, but she's being strong about it." Numerous power poles were snapped in Jackson along the storm's path, leaving more than 23,400 customers without power, utility company Entergy Mississippi said. Choctaw County Sheriff Todd Kemp reported structural damage and trees down near the site of a tornado in State Line, Mississippi. In Alabama, a tornado emergency was issued for the towns of Geiger, Panola, New West Green, and Pleasant Ridge, according to the National Weather Service. It said storm spotters were tracking a large and dangerous tornado that was a half mile wide and located about 23 miles northwest of Livingston Friday afternoon. The National Weather Service said it had received a report of a tornado near Melvin, Alabama, that may have caused damage to the Hunt Oil Refinery there. A company spokeswoman said no damage had occurred there, however. Tornadoes also were reported near Linden in Alabama and in or near the cities of Loper, Madden, Mount Sterling and Ludlow in Mississippi, according to the Weather Service. It predicted a continued threat of thunderstorms and tornadoes in parts of the Southeast and Midwest through Saturday as the storms moved northeast. - CNN
Here are two video reports from the Associated Press:

"One woman in southeastern Oklahoma says her home is in shambles following last night's tornado that killed two people in the town of Tushka. The storm system moved onto Arkansas, where falling trees killed at least four people."


"Destructive storms that tore across the country's midsection left at least nine people dead, while a spring storm dropped heavy snow on parts of the Dakotas, leading to travel problems and worsening flood worries."