White Nosed Syndrome Hurting Michigan Bats

White Nosed Syndrome Hurting Michigan BatsStreet-Eatzz-Ad

(DNR and Organization for Bat Conservation Press Releases, April 12, 2014)

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced that the DNR survey team has discovered the presence of the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans and White-nose Syndrome in Michigan. Officials have confirmed the diagnosis in Little Brown Bats sampled at sites in Alpena, Dickinson and Mackinac Counties. Read the DNR press release here.

White-nose Syndrome has been spreading west since it was first documented in New York in 2006. Since dda_ad_01that time, more than 5.7 million bats have been killed by this disease. Michigan now joins 26 states and 5 Canadian provinces that have identified White-nose Syndrome in their area.

“Even though we’ve known this disease was coming, it is a disappointing day,” said Dr. Dan O’Brien, DNR wildlife veterinarian. “We will now shift gears and try to stop the spread of this serious disease.”

“All of us at the Organization for Bat Conservation are devastated to learn that White-nose Syndrome has now reached our state. We encourage everyone to do what they can to support our bat population as bats are an integral part of our ecosystem,” says the Organization for Bat Conservation based in Bloomfield Hills.

At this point, there is no effective treatment for WNS and no practical way to deliver the treatment to millions of affected bats even if treatment existed. Rehabilitation of bats is prohibited in Michigan because seed014_melinda_hicks_familyof the potential for the exposure of humans to rabies,” said O’Brien. “The best thing the public can do when they find a dying or dead bat is to leave it alone and keep children, livestock and pets away from it.”

Bat die-offs can be reported through an observation report on the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/wildlife or by calling the DNR at 517-336-5030.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requests that cavers refrain from caving in all WNS-affected states and adjoining states. Cavers also should refrain from caving anywhere during the hibernation period (September – May) to minimize disturbance and mortality to bats.

The loss of bats due to WNS could be economically significant for agriculture and commercial forestry. A essentialreduction in the bat population could lead to an increase in pests that are harmful to crops and trees.

People can also directly care for bats in their backyards by providing summer roosting sites such as bat houses and dead trees, and planting organic gardens to reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides. Learn more about bat houses or purchase one on our online store at  visit www.batconservation.org.

Another important step is investing in researchers who are working to find a cure. Researchers are unable to accept donations from the public due to their affiliations with universities or other institutions. OBC acts as an intermediary, passing 100% of donated funds directly to researchers through their Research Grant Fund. To donate to support research, visit their Research Grant Fund page.

Learn more about white-nose syndrome at the DNR website www.michigan.gov/wns

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