What is White-Nose Syndrome?
White-nose syndrome is actually an aggressive fungus (Geomyces destructans) which thrives in cold and humid environments. The fungus shows up on the nose, ears and wing membranes of the bats and causes skin infections. Due to this condition, the bats are awakened repeatedly in their hibernative state, depleting their fat stored to survive hibernation.
When did it start?
White-nose syndrome was first discovered in a cave in Albany, NY in 2006.
How big is the Problem?
It is currently estimated that up to 6.7 million bats have died of white-nose syndrome since 2006. This represents a decline of 80% of bats in northeastern states in the US.
Why is this important?
Bats eat insects in large numbers. The devastation of the bat population will directly corelate to crop damage from harmful insects and an increase in mosquito populations. Some bats also assist in pollination.
Where is this happening?
Initially, white-nose syndrome was concentrated in northeastern states of the US, but has migrated to Canada and spread southward and westward throughout 16 states in the US.
What causes it?
The cause and cure for white-nose syndrome are currently unknown.
More information on White-Nose Fungus and bats in general can be found at:
White-Nose Syndrome: A devastating disease of North American bats
Culprit Identified: Fungus Causes Deadly Bat Disease
White-nose syndrome in bats FAQ
What Do Bats Eat?
Bat Conservation International
The National Plan for Assisting States, Federal Agencies, and Tribes in Managing White-Nose Syndrome in Bats