Daniel Strohl says:
Photo by Al Hicks, New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation
A spelunker coworker of mine mentioned this yesterday and I haven't seen much mention of it in mainstream news media. Some mystery syndrome is causing several species of bats in a four-state area around Albany, NY, and Pittsfield, MA, to die off at incredible rates. We just watched a bat suffering from this white-nose syndrome as we were leaving work yesterday, in the daylight, flying very erratically and not chasing any insects for food.
"He's just burning off his fat storage and will die in an hour," my co-worker said. Apparently, by the end of this summer, every single bat from the afflicted species will be dead, which means billions of mosquitos and crop-eating insects will soon cause havoc in the area. And nobody seems to know why or how this disease/organism is spreading, nor do they know much about bat colonies in this area to be able to determine what's normal and what's abnormal for these species.