Since 2006, White-nose Syndrome (WNS) has devastated bat populations across Eastern North America, causing the most precipitous wildlife decline of the past century. WNS has killed at least 5.7 million bats since it was discovered in a single cave in New York. Today, seven bat species in 29 states and 5 Canadian provinces have been diagnosed with the devastating disease.
The disease is named for a cold-loving white fungus typically found on the faces and wings of infected bats, Pseudogymnoascus destructans. White-nose Syndrome causes bats to awaken more often during hibernation and use up the stored fat reserves that are needed to get them through the winter. Infected bats often emerge early from hibernation and are often seen flying around in midwinter. These bats usually freeze or starve to death.
Mortality rates can reach 100% at some sites. WNS affects hibernating bats; half of America’s bats are at risk to this disease. Use the resources listed below to help inform and fight this disease.