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Forest Service extends cave closure to protect bats

Cave closures will continue in the Rocky Mountain region of the Forest Service to try and protect western bats against the spread of white-nose syndrome.

Deadly white-nose syndrome still unchecked

By Summit Voice

Hoping to prevent the westward spread of a deadly bat disease, the U.S. Forest Service last week extended a general closure for caves on national forest lands in the Rocky Mountain region (Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas) for another year.

The agency tweaked the closure slightly to rovide exemptions to active members of the National Speleological Society and Cave Research Foundation for activities consistent with national agreements with both organizations.

“Our priority is to protect bat species and habitat from the westward spread of WNS, a deadly disease that has killed 5.5 million bats since 2006,” said Daniel Jirón, regional forester, U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. “The fungus has not yet been detected within the five-state Rocky Mountain Region and we are taking an aggressive approach to minimizing the risk of humans inadvertently introducing the fungus into our caves and abandoned mines,” Jiron said. Continue reading

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