Q: What's going on with New York's bats?
A: Several species of New York's bats have declined precipitously in the last few years. Recent research has determined that they have been afflicted with a terrible disease. When their hibernacula are too near highways or, you know, like, really windy places, ambient "white noise" wakes them up, interferes with their echolocation, and SMACK! they fly into trees and die. The affliction is thus named "White Noise Syndrome." Scientists are confused because white noise often helps people sleep, so why not bats? On the meantime, managers are working furiously to soundproof caves by carpeting the stalagmites.
In all seriousness, however, WNS (white NOSE syndrome) has now been found in Oklahoma, although previous reports of it being in Kentucky were apparently erroneous.
A southeastern myotis was discovered in Virginia this year with WNS. Scientists are concerned because this species is already in decline, and if individuals contract WNS, they will further spread the disease as they travel throughout their range: south Florida to eastern Texas, and north to Indiana and Illinois.
The small-footed bat and the northern long-earred bat, both found in New York in very small numbers, may soon be on the endangered species list.
The future is not rosy.