State environment researchers have just published their latest survey of bat caves and hibernacula in New York and the news is grim.
“Caves and mines that avoided infection in the early years of the disease, perhaps by chance, are now infected,” said Acting DEC Commissioner Peter Iwanowicz.
“This year’s survey included hibernation sites that had not been visited by DEC in decades. What we found was disturbing.
We now have sampled sites that represent the full range of environmental conditions across the state – and none have been spared. It is likely the sites not yet inspected are infected as well.”
Conservation researchers say mortality in many species is is now at 90%.
Among the hardest-hit caves is the old Graphite Mine in the town of Hague in the eastern Adirondacks, once the largest bat hibernation site in New York.
At this site, the survey found that the population of Little Brown bats (myotis lucifugus) has declined from an estimated 185,000 to 2,000 since the disease arrived.
Two species, the Northern bat (myotis septentrionalis) and the federally endangered Indian bat (myotis sodalis) have been completely lost.
Another, the Tri-Colored bat (perimyotis subflavus) has been reduced to a single individual.