The deadly fungus that causes White Nose Syndrome has claimed more than 6 million bats since it was identified in 2006. It has been a crisis for bats all over the Eastern US and Canada. Yet despite desperate efforts by various research groups and organizations, the epidemic has sprinted on at an alarming rate, threatening eventual extinction for several bat species.
Last year, The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee employed an all-new strategy. They built an artificial bat cave. The operation is more complicated than it sounds. The cave needed to have just the right conditions – the wrong temperature and humidity could spell disaster for the already weak populations. It also needed to be free of humans, who have been known to accidentally spread the disease from cave to cave.
The artificial bat cave under construction