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Contact: Vickie Carson, 270.758.2192
Superintendent Patrick Reed announced today that Mammoth Cave tours are open to the public. The park has received several inquiries regarding white-nose syndrome (WNS) that is killing bats in several eastern states. It has not yet been found in Kentucky caves or mines.
“We want the public to know that the park is open and we are taking visitors on tours of Mammoth Cave,” said Superintendent Patrick Reed. “WNS is not known to pose a health risk to humans, but it poses a great risk to many bat species. We are very concerned about the populations of bats that live in or frequent the park’s 350 caves, and we are working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to establish procedures that will protect them.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Cave Advisory, issued in late March 2009, states in part: “…At this time, the evidence is lacking to recommend the closure of commercial sites that offer cave tours to the general public…we will be working with the owners and operators of commercial caves to help them employ methods to minimize the potential for contaminated materials from entering or leaving their sites.”
For more information on WNS, please check the USFWS website at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/white_nose.html.