U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unveils National White-Nose Syndrome Plan
Earlier today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service launched a plan combat the still mysterious disease, White-nose syndrome, that has been threatening North America’s hibernating bat populations since 2007. This new plan acts as a road map for more than 100 federal, state, and tribal agencies and scientific researchers currently working on the disease.
In finalizing the plan, the USFWS took into consideration approximately 17,000 comments it had received on the draft plan that was released to the public in October 2010.
White-nose syndrome has far reaching ecological and economic effects that are still not even fully realized. Although much has been learned in the past few year, there is still mch more work to be done. Scientists don’t yet know how the disease is transmitted or how it’s even killing the bats. The presumed cause, Geomyces destructans, a fungus new to science has been identified by researchers working with the U.S. Geological Survey.
Since 2007, the U.S. Interior Department has spent more that $10.8 million on white-nose syndrome, $3 million going to research projects looking for a way to control or cure the disease.
The plans release coincides with the fourth annual WNS Symposium beginning today until May 19th in Little Rock, Arkansas. The symposium will bring in more than 170 of the world’s top scientific experts on bats, wildlife disease, and white-nose syndrome to present their latest research and information.
The next step is for state, federal and tribal land managers to discuss the national response plan work on an implementation strategy.
For more information and to get a copy of the White-Nose Syndrome National Plan, visit U.S. Fish and Wildlife – White-nose Syndrome Page
Fish and Wildlife Service Unveils National Plan to Combat Deadly White-Nose Syndrome in Bats [U.S. Department of the Interior]
Photo by USFWS Headquarters