Since early March, the US Forest Service has been asking adventurers to stay out of caves in the Eastern US in an effort to help stop or slow the spread of the white nose syndrome in bat colonies, such as the little brown bats shown in a cave, above. That voluntary request has been turned into an order to stay out, according to an article in the New York Times earlier this month. One of the biggest challenges the agency faces is the independent spirit of most spelunkers. Very few of them, the paper reports, are part of organized groups or efforts, so getting the word out to help the bats by staying away from the caves may prove tough.
(photo courtesy of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation via USFWS website)