White Nose Syndrome Is Killing Millions Of Bats In The U.S. (HBO)

— Alright so, real quick, guys,
I want to do a safety talk. So we are going underground into a mine. Avoid touching the walls, if you can help it, and watch your head, certainly, where you’re going. — Our job is to find every dead bat and every band. So we have to make sure we’re paying attention
to that, and that’s our prime goal going in there. — Onward. — Tim Carter and Maarten Vonhof
are researchers in Michigan, investigating white-nose syndrome,
a disease killing millions of bats in the U.S. — So you haven’t been to this specific mine, you haven’t checked out these bats since the fall. — No.
— That’s correct. — We are here to assess the results of a long-term experiment to test a
treatment against white-nose syndrome. — What is white-nose syndrome? — It’s a fungal disease that affects the bats. It’s a pretty devastating disease, that came over from Europe in 2006
accidentally, introduced into New York, and it has been spreading from that
epicenter in New York across the country. — So far, white-nose syndrome has been
identified in 31 states, mostly in the northeast. But U.S. Fish and Wildlife tells us it’s spreading west. In March, the fungus that causes it
was identified in Texas, and, last week, the disease
was confirmed in Oklahoma. — And as it moves through
these populations of bats, we’re seeing massive declines,
mortality rates of certainly over 80%, in some cases, as high as 90, 95% of the
population is dying as a result of this disease. — White-nose syndrome isn’t just devastating to bats, it’s a huge problem for the economy. Bats eat a lot of insects, including moths and beetles. That means that they’re crucial for pest control, saving American farmers an estimated
$3.7-billion in crop damages every year. Researchers across the country are trying to figure out
what can be done to stop the disease’s spread. — What is the absolute worst case scenario
once we go into that mine? — Worst case scenario is that we go into that
mine and find every bat dead on the ground. — Maarten and Tim conducted an
experiment in this mine last December. They catalogued 165 bats,
and treated half with Chitosan, a compound they hope will help fight the fungus. They sealed up the mine last fall. Today, they’ll find out if any of
the bats survived the winter. — So, this one’s dead. — Dead bats are sorted into Ziploc bags,
and live ones into paper bags. — Bunch of dead bats around here… — Both live and dead bats will then be
taken to a field lab for analysis. — Okay, so we’ve got a live bat up in here. Live bat, believe it or not, this is how much
they move when they are hibernating. — The fungus irritates certain bat species,
like little brown bats, causing them to wake up and fly around during
the winter when they should be hibernating. Because of this, they end up spending
a lot more energy than they should, at a time when there’s no food
available to sustain them. — So this poor guy is alive.
He’s not doing very well. — Eventually, they die from starvation. — What are we looking at? — That’s what they’re supposed to look like. — So there are a bunch of different bats around here. — Yeah, we’ve got three, we’ve got a pair right here,
and then a single one right up in there. — They’re cute little guys.
— Yeah, they are kinda cute, aren’t they? — I’m sorry, guys.
— Oh, they’re not happy. — He’s snarling at you.
— Yeah, well, he’s not happy at all. — So far you’ve found a few dead ones,
lots of live ones, what does that tell you? — It’s kind-of what we expect. We were hoping to have
some live bats and some dead bats. Of course, we will not know who’s who until after we get back and check
the numbers on their bands, so I don’t know if I’m looking at a
treated bat or if I’m looking at a control bat. So it’s really too early to tell
if we’ve had any success, other than we’re happy that we’ve got
some live bats and some dead bats. — Alright, folks. We only have roughly 57 live bats. We will PD swab and microswab every bat. — Some infected bats develop
a white, fuzzy growth on their noses, but the most common sign of the disease
are lesions on their wings and tails. — Female… band number is M-2-4-0-2. — …and here will be tissue punch number eight. — The only way to truly tell if a bat has the disease,
however, is to send samples for analysis. Right now, Tim and Maarten are trying
to save as many bats as possible. But they know that even if an
effective control method is found, bat populations will take a long time to recover. That’s because, unlike other small mammals,
bats reproduce slowly— females only have one “pup” a year. — Every year that white-nose
impacts bat populations, it will take approximately a hundred years
or more to offset those losses. So, right now, we’re at about
10 years of white-nose losses. If we could wave a magic wand today
and just get rid of white-nose, it would be more than a thousand years before bats
could get back to where they were just 10 years ago. — Tim and Maarten will have to wait for the
final results of this winter’s treatment trials. In the meantime, they’ve released some
of the surviving bats back into the cave.

100 thoughts on “White Nose Syndrome Is Killing Millions Of Bats In The U.S. (HBO)”

  1. Sorry, I know the subject is serious, and I do feel sorry for the bats, but…

  2. I read White Noise syndrome and then I though "F*cking hipster with their techmology and bluetooth headphones with noise cancelling" then I looked at the title and felt stupid

  3. Kids And Elderly People Are The First To Be Affected Directly From This Problem.
    Mosquitoes Are Going To Run Rampant, And It's Going To Destroy Our Population.

  4. I live in Houghton and these bats have became a huge annoyance to citizens and most people have considered this a lucky thing to help thin out the population to a reasonable level!

  5. so basically, a desease came over from Europe accidentally 13 years ago now causes billions of dollars of damage every year to farmers. funny how life works.

  6. maybe they can alter the bats mating patterns to make them mate and reproduce more and effectively reduce the recovery time for their population. maybe something they can do to one generation of bats that will mate over their lifetimes not a permanent alteration to the entire species so as to not cause overpopulation in the future and throw off the food chain.

  7. With insect populations having dropped by about 80% as well, it looks like our grandchildren will be getting theirs from protein farms.

  8. I can't stress enough how important it is to keep the bat population at it's best. I live in Northen MN, by the Mississippi River. Without the bats we'd be overcome with mosquitoes, so bad you can't even keep the mosquitoes off with Deet anymore. We will die without bats.

  9. Millions of dead bats = exponential compounding of mosquitoes..

    Better start raising more dragon flies

  10. Is their anyway those testers could keep the bats by maintaining them at the lab, creating a short term home for them so that they are more likely out of harms way and also can help by saving as many to produce so you don't have to go back to check on them and then they are all dead… like i have a bad feeling about this, so please consider thinking about instead of taking a 50/50% chance then a "for sure safe place where they can't get the disease by being outside unsupervised and inside producing so 10 years from now they will live and keep thriving <3 praying you guys will come up with a better way and try to save theses amazing animals!

  11. Last summer I went to the local BLM office here in Southern Idaho trying to get a map of the locations of local caves. I was told they no longer give them out, because they're trying to do everything they can to stop White Nose syndrome from spreading.

  12. Vice so biased they do a piece on poor sick bats and the thumbnail is the most negative stereotypical image of a bat possible.

    Poor little flying furballs. See you in 1,000 years 🙁

  13. I'm confused to why ppl care if bats are dying! Keep in mind that I'm just an inner city dude.. I'm not familiar with fishing, farming,etc… I'm familiar with sports, nightlife, ballgames n bbq's, etc… if it's not an at home pets, the only animals I see is if I go to a zoo

  14. This is such a horrible development for all these cute/beautiful Bats; this White Nose Syndrome. I hope they can find a cure at some point to help the remaining Bats, as they are not only important because they eat all the pest insects like Mosquitoes and Gnats, but they're cute.

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