National Plan for Bat Disease Falls Short - Send Comments Today
Since early 2006, bats in North America have been subject to a deadly, fast-spreading illness called white-nose syndrome. From its epicenter in upstate New York, the disease, associated with a newly identified fungus, has moved into bat colonies in Virginia and Tennessee, Ontario and Quebec, and most of New England. As of last spring, white-nose fungus was found as far west as western Oklahoma. Biologists believe it could spread to hibernating bats throughout the country, potentially decimating more than two dozen bat species in all.
The sudden bat crisis has been made worse by a slow, tentative response by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Both funding and agency coordination have been severely lacking; research has not kept pace with the spread of the disease, and state wildlife agencies have struggled in the absence of sufficient resources and national direction. Not until this fall did the Fish and Wildlife Service issue a plan for responding to the national wildlife catastrophe.
Bats can't wait that long.
The public has an opportunity to comment on the draft national plan now. Please weigh in now, telling the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that real action, not conceptual goals, is what bats need if they are to survive.