Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dutton's Cave Park OPEN But Dutton's Cave is CLOSED!

A rapid spreading bat disease closes state owned cave used for hibernation and the Fayette County Conservation Board, Dutton’s Cave Park Cave where many bats live during the summer.

The disease known as white-nose syndrome is killing bats across the eastern half of the United States and now has shown up in Missouri.

Dutton’s Cave and others have been closed following recommendations by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service due to the rapid spread of the white-nose syndrome into the Midwest. Indiana and Illinois have already closed state owned and some county caves.

The closing is a precaution to help slow the spread of the disease. It is know the disease spreads from bat to bat. But it may also be spread by people carrying it on the clothing, cave exploring equipment or foot wear from cave to cave as they explore.

The disease was found in New York Cave in February 2006 and has killed more than a million hibernating bats of six different species in thirteen different states. Now it has been found in Missouri near St. Louis the second to the last week of April 2010.

It is not known how long white-nose syndrome will remain a threat. Currently and sadly there are more unknowns than known’s.

So please respect the cave closed signs, look from a distance, to help protect Iowa Bats from white-nose syndrome. Thank you!

More information on White-nose syndrome in Bats:
http://www.fws.gov/northeast/white_nose.html
http://www.caves.org/WNS/

Dutton’s Cave Park is open you are welcome to come visit, camp, picnic, hike down to the end of where the trail is close to see the cave opening, play on the play ground or just enjoy the park. But please do not go into the cave so that we can keep Iowa Bats healthy.

If you have questions or comments please contact the Fayette County Conservation Board at 563-426-5740, e-mail: gncfccb@alpinecom.net or leave a comment on the blog site.

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