Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Podcast spreads the word about threat to Smokies’ bats

January 27, 2011, 1:58 pm

A podcast released by Great Smoky Mountains National Park outlines efforts to save bats from White-nose syndrome, a potentially fatal disease sweeping through the Smokies’ bat population.

The park is home to at least 11 species of bats, a primary group of flying mammals that play a critical role in the health of ecosystems by consuming forest and agricultural crop insects — such as moths, beetles and mosquitoes.

In the winter of 2010, two bats in a park cave tested positive for a newly described fungus, Geomyces destructans, which is thought to be the cause of White-nose syndrome.

To help prevent the unintentional spread of the fungus, the park closed all of its 16 caves and two mine complexes to people in 2009.

In addition to the podcast, a new bat exhibit has been installed at the park’s Sugarlands Visitor Center.

Produced by Great Smoky Mountains Association, the podcast is posted on the park’s website, www.nps.gov/grsm/photosmultimedia/wns-bat-video.htm.

Read more at smokymountainnews.com.