Tag: white-nose syndrome

Genetic study tracks westward spread of bat-killing disease

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White-nose syndrome is wiping out bats across the U.S. Photo courtesy USGS.

Are humans responsible for  the big jump to the West Coast?

Staff Report

Genetic analysis shows that the bat-killing fungus recently detected for the first time in western North America is  similar to strains found in the eastern United States. That means there is a good chance that humans were involved in spreading the disease, according to conservation advocates who want resource managers to step up efforts to halt the spread of the fungus by restricting cave tourism.

The new study, published in the journal mSphere, has implications for resource managers battling the spread of a disease that has wiped out millions of bats in North America. It provides new clues about the origin of this strain of the Pseudogymnoascus destructans fungus, or Pd. The latest case of WNS near North Bend, Washington was about 1,300 miles from the previous westernmost detection in Nebraska. Continue reading “Genetic study tracks westward spread of bat-killing disease”

USFWS says it won’t set critical habitat for threatened bat

Northern long-eared bat
A northern long-eared bat. Photo by New York Department of Environmental Conservation; Al Hicks.

Conservation groups say agency sold out to special interests

Staff Report

Federal biologists say they won’t designate critical habitat for a species of bat threatened by white-nose syndrome. The decision was immediately protested by conservation advocates, who claim the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service caved to industry pressure in making the decision.

In a press release, the USFWS explained that designating critical habitat wouldn’t be prudent, because it might increase the risk of vandalism and disturbance to bats at hibernation sites and could hasten the spread of white-nose syndrome. The decision doesn’t affect the bat’s threatened status under the Endangered Species Act.

Long-eared bat populations have plummeted by up to 90 percent in some core areas, and conservation advocates say critical habitat could help protect the species. The Center for Biological Diversity said the decision is another example of the USFWS appeasing special interests “rather than protecting our most vulnerable animals.” Continue reading “USFWS says it won’t set critical habitat for threatened bat”

Bat-killing white-nose syndrome jumps to West Coast

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A little brown bat infected with white-nose syndrome. Photo via USGS.

Conservation advocates call for more protective measures to protect bat populations

Staff Report

A bat-killing disease that has been spreading across the U.S. westward from the East Coast has now been found in the Far West. White-nose syndrome, which has devastated bat populations, was confirmed in a little brown bat near Noth Bend, in Washington State, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

According to the USFWS, it’s the first recorded occurrence of white-nose syndrome in western North America. The fungal disease has killed more than six million beneficial insect-eating bats in North America since it was first documented nearly a decade ago. Most recently, biologists documented the spread of the disease in Oklahoma.
Continue reading “Bat-killing white-nose syndrome jumps to West Coast”

Feds outline plan to curb invasive species

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Invasive quagga mussels at Lake Powell. Photo courtesy NPS.

Early detection and response, partnerships across jurisdictions seen as critical measures

Staff Report

The spread of invasive species has been identified as the second-leading cause of extinctions among all plants and animals worldwide — and the problem is getting worse in the era of global trade. Just a few months ago, scientists warned that North American amphibians are at risk from an invasive fungus. White-nose syndrome, which has wiped out millions of bats, may have also spread to the U.S. from Europe.

Federal officials now say they have a plan to try and curb the proliferation of invasive species by focusing on early detection and swift response. The measures are outlined in a report released by the Interior Department: Safeguarding America’s Lands and Waters from Invasive Species: A National Framework for Early Detection and Rapid Response.

“Invasive species pose one of the most significant ecological threats to America’s lands and waters,” said U.S. Department of the Interior Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Kristen J. Sarri. “Early detection and rapid response actions can reduce the long-term costs, economic burden, and ecological harm that they have on communities. Strong partnerships and a shared commitment to preventing the spread of invasive species can lay the foundation for more effective and cost-efficient strategies to stop their spread.” Continue reading “Feds outline plan to curb invasive species”

Bat-killing fungus has spread across 26 states

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A bat displays signs of the deadly white-nose syndrome. Photo via USFWS.

Nebraska officials confirm presence of white-nose syndrome

Staff Report

Bat-killing white-nose syndrome has been confirmed in Nebraska, which means the deadly fungus has now spread to 26 states and five Canadian provinces, wiping out populations of hibernating bats along the way.

“While the presence of the fungus is disappointing, it is not surprising,” said Mike Fritz, a zoologist with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “With the fungus being present in states around us and the migratory nature of bats, it was probably only a matter of time before it was documented in Nebraska.” Continue reading “Bat-killing fungus has spread across 26 states”

Can bat populations recover from white-nose syndrome?

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A little brown bat afflicted with white-nose syndrome. Photo courtesy USFWS.

Some bats may only survive in remnant populations

Staff Report

LINZ — Even as they grapple with the devastating decline of bat populations caused by white-nose syndrome, researchers are starting to take a look at how, if and when some bats might recover from the fungal disease that has decimated colonies across the eastern U.S.

For at least one species, the outlook isn’t all that bright, according to U.S. Geological Survey scientists who took a close look at the once-common little brown bat. Continue reading “Can bat populations recover from white-nose syndrome?”

Environment: Biologists say new snake pathogen is ‘eerily similar’ to bat-killing white-nose syndrome

Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, a fungus that is afflicting snakes across the Midwest and Eastern US, shares many traits with Pseudogymnoascus destructans the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats, researchers report. Credit Julie McMahon
Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, a fungus that is afflicting snakes across the Midwest and Eastern US, shares many traits with Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats, researchers report.
Map courtesy Julie McMahon.

Numerous species, including rattlesnakes, affected by emerging fungal disease

Staff Report

FRISCO — Biologists say they’re tracking an emerging new fungal disease afflicting snakes that’s “eerily similar” to the fungus that has wiped out millions of bats across the eastern U.S.

The snake and bat pathogens emerged in North America in the mid-2000s. Both are moving from east to west across the United States and into parts of Canada. Continue reading “Environment: Biologists say new snake pathogen is ‘eerily similar’ to bat-killing white-nose syndrome”