Seven species of North American bats (including two endangered species, named below in red) have been directly affected by a fatal fungal infection called White Nose Syndrome according to The Center For Biological Diversity. The CBD has established a webpage dedicated to White Nose Syndrome where they say “Biologists consider it the worst wildlife disease outbreak ever in North America.”
The fast spreading disease reported in 2006, has now infected Big brown bats, Eastern small-footed bats, Indiana bats, Little brown bats, Northern long-eared bats, Tricolored bats and Gray bats. Cave bats and the Southeastern bats have been found carrying the fungus. Virginia big-eared bats and the Ozark big-eared bats, also endangered species, are living in areas where the fungus is found.
Hibernating bats seem to be the only ones affected by the fungus so far. ,Approximately 6.7 million bats are thought to have died.
Bats deliver very valuable pest control services as a natural part of their lifestyle.
According to the Defenders of Wildlife campaign this scourge has already killed almost 99% of Northern long-eared bats in parts of its range, An emailed campaign letter from Jamie Rappaport Clark received today describes how the fungus kills the bats:
“WNS strikes while bats are hibernating – when their body temperatures are dramatically decreased to reduce energy and survive the winter. Attacking these small creatures at their weakest, the fungal disease awakens them in the dead of winter, exhausting their stored energy – driving them to starvation, dehydration and hypothermia.”
Smith urges us to petition for greater urgency in the listing process that would reflect the current endangered status of this bat.
To add your voice to the petition, click the link below from the Defenders of Wildlife campaign email