By Dillon Tabish, 1-24-12
|Caption: Bat with suspected white-nose syndrome in Pennsylvania. - photo courtesy Pennsylvania Game Commission|
Bats with WNS exhibit unusual behavior during cold winter months, including flying outside during the day and clustering near the entrances of caves and mines where they hibernate. Bats have been found sick and dying in unprecedented numbers near these hibernacula.
“This startling new information illustrates the severity of the threat that white-nose syndrome poses for bats, as well as the scope of the problem facing our nation. Bats provide tremendous value to the U.S. economy as natural pest control for American farms and forests every year, while playing an essential role in helping to control insects that can spread disease to people,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.
Where is it now? White-nose syndrome has continued to spread rapidly. At the end of the 2010-2011 hibernating season, bats with WNS were confirmed in 16 states and four Canadian provinces: Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, New Brunswick, Canada, Nova Scotia, Canada, Ontario, Canada, Quebec, Canada
The fungus that causes WNS, Geomyces destructans, has been confirmed in three additional states: Delaware, Missouri, Oklahoma