A deadly disease for bat populations was found in Libety Park earlier this month, according to a press release from Metro Parks Serving Summit County.
According to the Metro Parks, a staff memeber found a dead brown bat near an off-trail cave. When they sent it in for testing it was found to have a disease called white-nose syndrome.
While it's not harmful to humans, the fungus responsible for white-nose syndrome (WNS) has killed more than 5 million bats in eastern North America since it was first detected during the winter of 2006-07.
Although it is still unknown how bats are affected by WNS, one theory is that it irritates them – and wakes them up – during hibernation, forcing them to find food when little is available. The result of the early wake-up is starvation, the press release said.
Park biologists have seen bats congregating around the cave openings recently, when they are supposed to be hibernating.
The park district is working collaboratively with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, on WNS surveillance and testing.
For more information about bats and the effects of WNS, visit fws.gov/WhiteNoseSyndrome or call the natural resources department for Metro Parks, Serving Summit County at 330-865-8057.