Epidemic In Bats To Be Topic At Audubon Lunch Friday

Once persecuted, bats are being recognized for their great importance to the ecosystem, both as pollinators in some regions of the world and predators of night-flying insects.

The only mammals capable of true flight, they are now experiencing incredibly high fatality rates from a fungal infection spreading across the United States and Canada.

Maggie Mason’s topic “The American White Nose Syndrome Epidemic” will explore this concern at the Audubon Center & Sanctuary’s First Friday Lunch Bunch on February 7.

A major conservation issue in America today, White Nose Syndrome is a fungal infection that was first identified right here in New York state. In only a few short years White Nose Syndrome has spread halfway across the country, killing more than five million bats of several species.

Beginning at 11 a.m., Mason’s talk will focus on bat biology and conservation, taking a look at how the infection affects individuals, why the spread of the fungus has been so virulent, and what the consequences of this epidemic could be.

Mason is a graduate of the State University at Oswego with a bachelor of science in zoology and strong interests in anatomy, behavior and conservation biology. She has also served as summer intern at Jamestown Audubon and continues to volunteer when she has time.

Following the program, coffee and tea will be provided for a bring-your-own brown bag lunch. The fee for attending is $8 or $6 for Friends of the Nature Center. Reservations are not required.

The Audubon Center & Sanctuary is at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren.

For more information, call 569-2345 or visit www.jamestownaudubon.org.