Diligent decontamination protocols at field sites are very important to limit the unintentional spread of the fungus.
If you find a dead bat, please contact your local community bat program to submit the carcass to test for the WNS causing fungus.
White-nose Syndrome (WNS) is a devastating health issue affecting North American bat populations. It is estimated that over six million bats have died due to WNS since its discovery in 2006, with some experts fearing that bats may become extinct in some regions. WNS is believed to be caused by Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), a fungus that grows on the skin of the bat, producing a fuzzy, white appearance on the muzzle, wings and ears, giving the condition its name. Infection of the skin of the wings has a detrimental effect causing over-wintering bats to exhaust their energy reserves before food becomes available in spring. This fungus, which is not native to North America, is the primary, but not the only threat, bat species are facing. Others include habitat loss, pesticide use and various means of direct harm. Given their significant role in regulating pest insect numbers, such a drastic decline in bat numbers can have a significant adverse impact on the environment and the economy. See the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative and https://www.whitenosesyndrome.org/ for more and up to date info.
Photo Credits: Header Photo- Jonathan Mays, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife