|White-Nose Syndrome or WNS is caused by Geomyces destructans, cold-loving fungus found in bat hibernacula. While not harmful to humans, this fungus is devastating to bat populations. In some hibernacula 100% of the bats have died. While WNS has not been found in Iowa (*UPDATE* WNS has been confirmed in Iowa as of 6/13/2012), the fungus has been found in 18 states and 2 Canadian provinces since its discovery in 2006. Currently it’s estimated that 7 million bats have died so far. Named for the white fungal ring that grows around the nose, WNS causes affected bats to exhibit strange behavior. Bats with WNS are often seen flying outside during the day or when temperatures are below freezing. While research is still being done, current theories suggest that the fungus wakes bats up during their hibernation and cause them to deplete their fat reserves. Most bats will either die from starvation or freeze to death. Iowa is currently home to 5 species that are affected by WNS:
Not much is known about how the disease is spread besides bat to bat. Current theories suggest that one person came over from Europe with the fungus attached to clothing or gear. Because one person can make such an impact on the survival of a species, it’s important that we follow rules and protocols regarding bat hibernacula. State and federal agencies may close public mines or caves, but we must also be sure to avoid disturbing bats in their summer roost.
|Bat with White-nose Syndrome
|White-nose Syndrome Map|
|For more information on White-nose Syndrome, please click on the ‘Battle for Bats’ picture to the right and download an informational brochure from the US Fish and Wildlife Service Website.|
|If you would like to read more about bats, click HERE to go to our Main Bat Information Page.|
|In our ongoing mission of raising funds to help out our bat population, we have created a place for people to click and donate to the cause! Please click the donate button below and help out at whatever level you are able to!|