How to Help Stop White-Nose Syndrome in Bats
Wildlife officials are asking for the public’s help in reporting sick or deceased bats that could be suffering from white-nose syndrome, a deadly fungal infection.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, along with other state and federal agencies, are encouraging the reporting of sick or dead bats as they work to detect and prevent the spread of Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome. The disease has killed millions of bats in North America since it was seen in New York in 2006.
The advisory follows the possible detection of the fungus on California State Park lands and private property. National Park Service surveillance conducted this spring also indicated the likely presence ofPd in several California counties including Shasta and Plumas. It has also been potentially found in Arizona. While the findings are inconclusive, officials are working hard to stop any possible spread.
According to the White-nosed Syndrome Response Team, which operates under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the fungus “attacks” the bare skin of bats while they’re hibernating. Pd causes the bats to become more active and use the fat stores they need to survive in the winter. Bats can become infected during hibernation through physical contact with other bats or a contaminated roost surface, and the disease can spread rapidly through a colony. The disease is not known to pose a health risk to people, pets or other wildlife.
Thank you for helping wildlife.