Virginia Cave Board Statement on White-Nose Syndrome and Commercial Caves
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service voluntary moratorium on cave visitation, which is designed to prevent the spread of White-Nose Syndrome (WNS), a disease decimating bat populations along the East Coast, does not apply to commercial caves or caverns. However, Virginia’s commercial caves have the highest visitation of any caves within the state, and, while they are not known to be significant bat hibernacula, bats within them can still be adversely impacted by WNS.
Unfortunately, WNS has already been confirmed in a Virginia commercial cave. Upon request, the Virginia Cave Board will work closely with cave owners to provide them advice and help them develop a management strategy. As a precautionary measure, the Virginia Cave Board strongly recommends that commercial cave owners provide their patrons with current WNS information, which is available on the Virginia Cave Board Web Site http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/wns-toolbox