Time out with Pittsfield cave-explorer Michael Telladira

Michael Telladira knows a Berkshire landscape few have ever seen. It lies beneath the one most of us experience every day. Full Story
First Prev
of 2
Next Last
DR WV

Morgantown, WV

#22 Mar 16, 2010
Steve_M wrote:
BTW, friends of mine supported a bat survey in West Virgina a few weeks ago, and a bat with and ID tag was found that had traveled over 400 miles.
There were two banded bats identified in West Virginia's largest bat cave, Hellhole; one was banded in Somerset County PA in spring 2007, and traveled 86 miles over 3 years; one banded in Blaire County PA in fall 2007, and traveled 133 miles over 2.5 years.
No bats have been identified as having traveled anywhere near 400 miles to WV this year, and probably never have. Either you or your friend are confused.
Arkansaw traveler

Gardendale, AL

#23 Mar 16, 2010
Deltaman wrote:
Describing Mr. Telladira as an all-purpose "citizen-scientist" belittles the legitimate community of wildlife biologists who have each invested years of disciplined study before earning their degrees. In fact, most of his statements about endangered bats are erroneous or misleading. Moreover, his pitch appears blatantly self-serving — attempting to thwart government moves to temporarily close caves to the public, where bats are known to hibernate. The manner in which "White-Nose Syndrome" has spread - sometimes hopping over several states (possibly, even continents)— strongly suggests that human exploration & recreation may have unwittingly contributed to spreading this deadly disease. Biologists have found traces of the fungus on their own clothing & equipment as well as on the gear of amateur "cavers" who had also visited infected sites. Because ordinary "home" methods are unreliable & ineffective in assuring complete removal of the fungus, it's irresponsible to suggest that caving enthusiasts would be willing and able self-police the level of hygiene required to prevent further spread of the fungus.
When people think of "hibernation" they typically conjure-up images of bears in deep, undisturbed slumber throughout the long, cold winter. Bat hibernation is actually quite different from that, since bats "sleep" fitfully, & awaken from slumber periodically during winter, to obtain water. Healthy bats have sufficient energy reserves to withstand a few such awakenings throughout their hibernation, but the fungus infection appears to cause them to awaken more frequently — depleting their meager fat reserves & causing them to starve to death. Even without the presence of this fungus, bats can be easily disturbed during hibernation — causing extra, life-threatening fat burning. In fact, higher bat-mortalities during winter, have been previously observed in caves that are popular with "citizen-scientists" like Mr. Telladira.
Bats don't have the same emotional appeal to ordinary folk as roly-poly bears do; nevertheless — for thousands of years — bats have played a critical role in keeping insect populations in check, thus limiting damage to crops & the spread of deadly diseases to livestock & humans. This rapid, massive die-off of bats has never been documented in another species, & has reduced the population of affected bats to less than five percent of what it was just a few years ago. Claiming that surviving bat populations are "stabilizing" is just not true; if citizen-scientists are observing far-fewer dead bats this winter, it's only because so few of them have survived — out of the approximately one-million that have already died! If they are to be saved from complete extinction, it will require the support of the public along with the efforts of scientists. While proposed cave-closings will be a temporary inconvenience to hundreds of hobbyists, it also offers a reasonable prospect of limiting further losses to these nearly-extinct bat populations, & the challenges that extinction or slow recovery will present to our agriculture & health in the future!
Equine Guano
Arkansaw traveler

Gardendale, AL

#24 Mar 16, 2010
Deltaman wrote:
@ "HellerCarbonCapN TradeLLC" — Whether deliberate or thru poor reading skills, you have ignored what I described as evidence of a possible human role in spreading the "White Nose" fungus. Biologists have been studying cave ecosystems for years, the fungus responsible for white-nose syndrome hadn't been found in North America prior to 4 years ago, yet its DNA closely matches that of cold-loving fungi that HAVE been found in European caves & Antarctica. Since bats have inhabited North America for centuries, it's likely that the chance pollination of caves by "rats, mice & insects" would have already occurred — with rapid, deadly consequence — long ago. Within their respective ranges, bats mingle freely, and don't always return to the same cave to hibernate. Therefore, scientists do believe that infected bats are a big contributor to spreading the fungus— within the range of that species. However, that means of spreading an infection creates a tell-tale pattern — like an ink stain on blotter paper — & doesn't account for the fact that the fungus has "jumped" over several states, as it migrated away from the northeast, & then begins the more-characteristic "ink stain" spread, as it establishes itself in new locations.
By now, there's little dispute that all North American species of hibernating bats are gravely imperiled & some species may already have passed the tipping-point towards extinction. Meanwhile, populations of night-flying insects (chiefly moths & mosquitos) are surging in areas where bat populations have been decimated — requiring increased use of risky chemical means to protect crops, livestock & humans from damage or infection. Members of some bat species live nearly 20 years and they have few natural predators, so they reproduce slowly — typically a single offspring annually. This means, even if bat die-off could be stopped in it tracks today, it will still take decades for surviving bat populations to recover to the same numbers as just four years ago.
Scientists now understand "White Nose Syndrome" well-enough to speak in "probabilities" about it; waiting additional years for scientific "certainties" before acting, will likely mean that there will no longer be any bats to save. When viewed through the prism of science, environmental matters can appear quite complicated to the average person, so they become easy targets for other people attempting to steer public policy in some direction which benefits them personally, by misusing the "F.U.D." factor.
In very simple terms, a relatively small (but loud) number of recreational cave explorers in the USA, are fighting against any disruption to their hobby by closings of known "bat caves" for a few years, to slow the spread of this disease & give surviving bats better odds for recovery. Some are even raising money to buy caves in order to remove them from government jurisdiction. Contrary to this minority of self-anointed "citizen scientists" no respected members of the real scientific community are advocating that these caves should remain open to the public while bat populations are being threatened with extinction.
I'm personally hopeful that this will be one instance where self-serving ignorance won't win out over public indifference!
The fungus also closely resembles those that infect fingernails. Do you have fingernails mister Deltaman? Are you the one who has spread this devastating disease? Are you ready to admit culpability?
Get a life troll. Better yet, get someone with some reading comprehension skills to straighten you out as to the facts on WNS.

Since: Mar 10

Location hidden

#25 Mar 16, 2010
Wholly Cr@p, "Arkansaw traveler" — Who left the attic door unlocked this time?
Bat lover

Hixson, TN

#26 Mar 17, 2010
there have been numerous instances of cavers destroying the posted signs & barriers which have been placed outside protected caves. It will only take ONE arrogant, selfish caver to hasten the spread of this deadly WNS contamination to other bat colonies.
Deltaman, I can assure you cavers are not destroying signs posted around caves, cavers are the ones putting them there! Caves in WNS states and adjoining states have been closed on federal and state properties for well over a year now and not one clue to diminishing the spread of WNS has been documented. I know it is hard to understand for some people that sometimes humans aren't to blame for something, but facts are proving cavers haven't spread this. Trip reports from the science and caving communities document travel from areas inside the WNS caves to well away from those areas where no signs of WNS have been found. This is where the facts prove no human transport has happened, and it has now been four years. Get better information about current happenings before making statements about possibilities or probabilities!
Caver1

Nitro, WV

#27 Mar 17, 2010
Sounds like Deltaman is a member of the CBD. They want ALL caves closed on public and private land. He sounds like he has his own agenda that includes giving cavers a bad name in the public eye. Bat lover is right, cavers don't go around destroying property, that is the spelunkers that don't know any better. So please Deltaman, stop being such a hard headed douche and open your mind a little. Or, prove that people are spreading it like you are so hell bound to get across to everyone.
Commonsenseman

United States

#28 Mar 17, 2010
Deltaman, you're just being a troll and you have no idea what you're talking about.

Any idiot (except in this instance, ones with bats in their own empty brain-case)that knows anything about bats can see that they are spreading it amongst themselves.

Have you ever had bats in your attic or know someone who has? A bat can get through an opening about the size of your thumb. They go where they please. They like to hang out together in tight little bunches. Plain and simple, they're spreading it to each other.

Bats roost all over the place from bridges, houses, barns, buildings, viaducts, drainage culverts, and apparently your head. Should all these places be torn down or sealed up?

Get your facts, moron.

Since: Mar 10

Location hidden

#29 Mar 17, 2010
No one has ever won an argument with someone who's determined to remain ignorant!

There are some cavers who appear to be threatened by "real" science, so they choose to invent their own — which conveniently supports letting them do whatever they want, without restriction. My purpose in posting here, has been to address some blatant misrepresentations posted by some "citizen-scientist" caving enthusiasts. I'm only providing a conduit for a great deal of information I've gathered elsewhere — I'm not inventing or twisting stuff to suit any particular viewpoint, so I'm not so much intimidated or threatened by lame insults & deliberate misquoting of my previous comments, as I am bored by them; it's like watching indignant infants hurling their diaper contents when they can't have their own way...

Anyone with a sincere interest in obtaining more info on this unfolding calamity (for people — not just bats) can google "bat +white nose" & then scan through thousands of "hits." You can also set-up a Google Alert with that same search term, & Google will continue to inform you of new articles as it finds them. I believe that the facts will "speak" for themselves, to any open-minded person who's willing to learn...

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker
First Prev
of 2
Next Last

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Spelunking Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
It's not hard to see why Palawan was voted the ... Oct '14 mario cy 1
40,000-year old cave art discovered Oct '14 Neville Thompson 32
Title of awesome caving documentary??? (Jun '09) Jul '14 Jenn 4
Gas-Charged Earthquakes Linked to Mysterious Lo... Jul '14 Adrian Godsafe MSc 1
Eerie chalk caves at Maison Blanche are custodi... (May '14) May '14 misc 1
Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Hole in Mars (Mar '14) Mar '14 tecton47 1
NM city prepares for salt cavern collapse (Nov '09) Feb '14 Jimmy 2
More from around the web