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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Fish & Wildlife > Bat Disease Bat Disease

DNR closes caves over bat disease concerns

Bats exhibiting fungal growth on their muzzles
Photo by Nancy Heaslip, New York Dept. of
Environmental Conservation

In response to growing concern for bat populations in other states that have been affected by White-Nose Syndrome, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources has closed public access to caves, sinkholes, tunnels and abandoned mines on DNR-owned land until further notice.

The exception is Twin Caves at Spring Mill State Park.

This action, made in consultation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, is a proactive step to slow or stop the spread of this deadly fungus from moving into Indiana. High population densities of bat species are found in southern Indiana, particularly the federally endangered Indiana bat.

White-Nose Syndrome has killed more than a half million bats in states from Vermont to West Virginia and has had mortality rates in excess of 90 percent in some bat hibernacula.

Although not proved conclusively, it appears this fungus can be transported from cave to cave on the boots and clothing of recreational cavers.

2014 Pilot Program Allows Limited Access to Some Caves at Spring Mill State Park and Cave River Valley Natural Area

In a pilot program in partnership with the Indiana Karst Conservancy (IKC), select caves at Spring Mill State Park and Cave River Valley Natural Area will reopen for limited access for self-guided recreational groups in 2014. Groups must register in advance through Indiana Karst Conservancy, and must complete online training explaining decontamination procedures established to prevent the spread of White-nose Syndrome(WNS) to other caves.  

Status of White-Nose Syndrome

Updates on white-nose syndrome - US Fish and Wildlife Service website

For more information bats in Indiana and on White-Nose Syndrome, click on any of these links:

Bat with fungus on muzzle
Photo by Al Hicks, New York Dept. of Environmental
Conservation