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New Mexico cave closes to protect bats

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By Special to the Monitor

White nose syndrome is spreading west quickly
Federal and state land management agencies will enact partial closures for some caves and abandoned mines on public lands in New Mexico in response to the spread of white-nose syndrome (WNS), a disease affecting bats. WNS is responsible for the death of more than 1 million bats in the eastern United States and Canada.
Preventing the potential human transmission of the fungus associated with the disease into New Mexico and containing any occurrences discovered within the state is the focus of public land managers. The closures on New Mexico’s public lands will primarily affect caves and abandoned mines that are known to have significant bat roosts but will not affect developed caves, like Carlsbad Cavern in Carlsbad Caverns National Park. 
To help ensure that visitors are not bringing the fungus into the cave, Carlsbad Caverns National Park will follow Mammoth Cave National Park’s lead and develop a process to screen visitors before they enter caves within the park.


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