August 15, 2013

 

 Federal funds awarded to combat deadly bat fungus

Posted July 31, 2013

 

In June, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced the agency was awarding grants totaling $950,694 to 28 states for white-nose syndrome projects.

State natural resource agencies will use the funds to support research, monitor bat populations, and detect and respond to white-nose syndrome, a disease that afflicts bats.

“White-nose syndrome has spread rapidly from one state in 2007 to 22 states and five Canadian provinces this year,” said Dr. Jeremy Coleman, the service’s national WNS coordinator. “These grants provide essential support to our state partners in responding to this disease. The research, monitoring, and actions made possible by these grants have yielded valuable results and insights for our national response to white-nose syndrome.”

First discovered in New York in the winter of 2006-2007, white-nose syndrome has spread rapidly through bat populations native to the eastern United States and parts of Canada, and continues to move westward.

“This is one of the most devastating diseases affecting wildlife in eastern North America,” said Wendi Weber, co-chair of the White-Nose Syndrome Executive Committee and USFWS Northeast regional director. “Best estimates indicate that it has killed more than 5.7 million bats.”

The USFWS is leading a cooperative effort with federal and state agencies, tribes, researchers, universities, and other nongovernmental organizations to research and manage the spread of the disease. In addition to developing science-based protocols and guidance for land management agencies and other partners to minimize the spread of WNS, the agency has funded numerous research projects to support and assess management recommendations and improve basic understanding of the dynamics of the disease.

Additional information about WNS, the international disease investigation, and research can be found on the national WNS website. The site carries up-to-date information and resources from partners in the WNS response, current news, and links to social media.