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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Mark Twain, Cameron cave bats healthy and plentiful

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  • Missouri Bat Census officials from Jefferson City inspected Mark Twain Cave and Cameron Cave recently. This is a group of biologists, educators and environmentalists who conduct and maintain a data base inventory for bats and species diversity in Missouri’s privately owned caves.  The information in this data base monitors bat population, health of the bats including WNS (White Nose Syndrome.)  WNS is a white fungus that appears mostly on the muzzle (sometimes on the wings) and is killing millions of hibernating bats.
    It is estimated that bat populations have declined nearly 80 percent in some regions because of WNS.   This decline has a significant impact on agricultural.  Bats provide free and eco-friendly insecticides, their guano is an effective organic fertilizer,  pollinate cash drops of fruit trees such as banana and figs, cashew trees, saguaro cactus and much more. As for science and medicine bats aid in developing sonar-type devises for the blind, anti-clotting drugs for stroke and cardiac patients, and their guano in detergents used in oil spills.
    As for Mark Twain Cave and Cameron Cave our numbers and the health of the bats were great.  In Cameron, where staff is protective of the hibernacula, there were 77 bats in one pocket.  On the passageways documented there were 849 bats.  They were Little Browns, Eastern Pipistral, and Northern Long-Ears.  In Mark Twain Cave, their was one additional specie which was the Big Brown.  The Little Brown bats were among the largest populations in Northeast Missouri.  All of the bats were free of WNS, fur and skin healthy and most of the females were with pups.
    Mark Twain Cave and Cameron Cave received a good report card.
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