White Nose Syndrome Found in Minnesota Bats

Tower Underground Mine a Top Spot for the Disease

TOWER, Minn.-The bat disease, known as white-nose syndrome, has been confirmed in six Minnesota counties.

One of the top spots for it is in the Soudan Underground Mine State Park in Tower, where they’ve seen a 73 percent decrease in the number of bats in the mine.

Tours will continue at the mine, as the mine will follow decontamination rules for guests.

“The DNR is working with federal and state officials to consider a variety of treatment trials, to test new fungicides that may kill WNS spores,” the Department of Natural Resources said in a prepared statement. “Treatments are unlikely to eradicate WNS, but could slow the spread and reduce the number of bat deaths.”

DNR biologists have been conducting winter bat counts in several Minnesota areas each year.

“We use these counts to compare the number of bats in a site from year to year,” said DNR mammalogist Gerda Nordquist. “Although we count all of the bats that we see, more are likely in areas we can’t reach.”

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