Conservationists at the Nature Conservancy are trying out a new tool to mitigate the effects of white-nose syndrome in bats. In Tennessee the Conservancy has just completed construction of an artificial cave that is designed to overwinter 200,000 bats. The cave is 78 feet long, 16 feet wide, and 11 feet tall.
White-nose syndrome, which was first documented in New York in 2006, is named for the appearance of the fungus that causes it. It has spread rapidly across the eastern United States and is estimated to have killed over five and a half million bats.
The Conservancy hopes that an artificial cave, with fewer sensitive species living inside, will be easier to clean in order to keep the fungus that causes the syndrome at bay. The project, which cost $300,000 is the first of its kind.