Bat Population Decline

Dan Environment, General, This Land of Ours

bat population decline
In the second part of her series on bats, Cathy Isom tells us why the bat population is seeing record declines, and what we can do to help keep these flying mammals around. That story is ahead on “This Land of Ours.”

Bat Population Decline

From: National Speleological Society

White Nose Syndrome

A Project of the
Biological Response Committee

Spring 2016 Update

brown bats-WNS

Little brown bats, like these found in a cave in Maine in 2013, are increasingly being found with white-nose syndrome. The U.S. Forest Service is researching many angles to help wildlife managers and the public to combat the disease. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

We were shocked to hear of the discovery of a WNS infected bat in Washington state on March 31. Though the bat was not found at a cave, it is a sharp reminder on the importance of decontamination. We are expecting updated decontamination protocols in the near future, the latest can be found at the USFWS White-Nose Syndrome webpage.

Observations of suspicious live or dead bats (multiple individuals at a single location) should be reported to local USFWS Field Office or State agency wildlife office. Do not handle bats unless you know what you are doing. The bat submission protocol is available online.

The revised cave advisory was published on March 28, 2016. It no longer recommends blanket closures, but rather concentrates on the following four objectives:
1. Minimize the risk of human-assisted spread of Pd to decrease the probability of long-distance transfer of the fungus to uncontaminated areas.
2. Avoid disturbing bats in their roosts to the greatest extent possible.
3. Carry out science-based best management practices for achieving conservation and recovery goals for bats.
4. Foster cooperation and collaboration among government agencies, non-government organizations, and landowners.

WNS is currently in 28 states and the fungus has been found in four more. The fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) has also been found in Europe and China. Seven North American bat species have been confirmed with WNS, and the fungus has been found on five more. Several species of bat seem resistant to the disease, but some species are seeing mortality of up to 98%.

Read the full article.

Video from: National Park Service

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a disease caused by a fungus, Geomyces destructans, that is threatening cave-hibernating bat populations in our national parks. Watch part one of a three part video series to learn more about white-nose syndrome and the efforts different parks, such as Mammoth Cave National Park and Lava Beds National Monument, are making to identify and respond to this deadly disease. With your help, we hope to minimize the risk of the spread of white-nose syndrome to protect these wonderful creatures for future generations to enjoy.