It appears that white-nose syndrome (WNS), which has already decimated Vermont's bat population and has killed off tens of thousands of bats in New England, is only getting worse — as if bats didn't have it bad enough already, what with centuries of being demonized for their purported link to vampires and other blood-sucking spooks.
Scientific American reported this week that Vermont has lost at least 95 percent of its bat population since WNS was first identified three years ago, and the deadly fungus continues to spread to other bat population. Last week, Tennessee became the 10th state to show signs of the infection. And that's bad news not only to the nocturnal flyers, but to anyone who relies on a balanced ecosystem, such as farmers and those of us who go outside on summer evenings and don't want to be eaten alive by mosquitoes.
Now, here's a thought: What if the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department grabbed ahold of the cape tails of America's current lust for all things vampiric — HBO's True Blood, Twilight, Ann Rice novels, etc. — to spread the word about this deadly disease? While there's still no effective tool for fighting WNS, there are some things the public can do to help out, especially since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now believes that WNS is spread by humans, including limiting access to their roosting sites. Check their website for more info.