Science
8:01 am
Thu May 31, 2012

Forest Service Extends Cave and Mine Closures

The USDA Forest Service is extending mine and cave closures to help protect bats, in the fight against white nose syndrome. The disease is expected to spread to caves and abandoned mines in the Daniel Boone National Forest.

The Forest Service is renewing an earlier order that closes all caves and abandoned mines on national forest lands in the Southern Region.  The action covers land in 13 states, including Kentucky.  Only authorized activities and rescue efforts will be permitted in those caves and old mines.

White nose syndrome has been confirmed in three Kentucky counties, and the policy is designed to help fight the spread of the disease. It has  proven deadly to about five million  bats in several states since it was first discovered in the state of New York in 2006.

Scientists say the disease is probably transferred from one location to another on the clothing or footwear of humans.  The syndrome is not known to cause human illness.