TWINSBURG - Biologists have confirmed the presence of white-nose syndrome in bats living in the caves and ledges of Liberty Park in Twinsburg.
The number of infected bats in this northern Summit County park is unknown, but the fungus responsible for white-nose syndrome has killed more than 5 million bats in eastern North America since it was detected during winter of 2006-07. The first documented case in Ohio was last year.
Park staff made the local discovery following a weekly survey of the area in mid-January. Biologists found a dead little brown bat outside one of the park's off-trail caves and collected it for testing. White-nose syndrom was confirmed in the specimen by researchers at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens, Ga.
Although it is still unknown how bats are affected by white-nose syndrome, 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.