Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thinking Outside the Cave

Talk about thinking outside the cave, errr, box, The Nature Conservancy is proposing to build artificial caves in order to fight white nose syndrome.

Cory Holliday, Cave and Karst Program Director for The Nature Conservancy in Tennessee, thinks that building artificial caves next to existing natural bat caves will provide bats with safe havens from white nose syndrome, a disease that has killed more than a million bats in 14 states.

In April of 2009, Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials closed all the caves to humans within park boundaries due to the disease.

The artificial caves, made with a pressurized, textured concrete, will be disinfected of the tell-tale white fungus that is thought to cause white nose syndrome.

Holliday states in an online interview that past experience has shown that bats are constantly seeking new habitats. He believes the bats would have no problem moving into an artificial cave as long as temperatures and humidity are correct.

I have no idea if this will work or not, but you have to appreciate thinking like this to solve problems that seem to have no solution.

This story does lead to one question in my mind. Is it not possible to disinfect natural caves of the white fungus? I have no idea what that would entail, and I imagine that it's been tried or at least discussed, but I would be curious as to why this couldn't be a possible solution.

You can read the full interview with Mr. Holliday by clicking here. You can also take a look at a sketch blueprint of an artificial cave clicking here.


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