The fight to protect bats from the highly infectious fungal disease called white-nose syndrome often leaves one feeling helpless. With so little known about the newly described disease that continues to devastate bat populations as it spreads from the east coast of the US farther west, there is also little known about how to stop it. Here is a simple action that you can take to help wildlife managers do their best to protect the bats that are in danger from white-nose syndrome.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service is taking public comments on their proposed draft national plan which is designed to coordinate information and services among various state and federal agencies in responding to the white-nose syndrome outbreak. While management options are somewhat limited, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as partner agencies such as the National Park Service and the US Geological Survey, nevertheless have an important role to play in responding to the white-nose syndrome epidemic.
The greatest need for addressing white-nose syndrome continues to be scientific research. The USGS has played an instrumental role in the description of the fungal disease and given enough resources they can continue to be a key player in unraveling the mystery of white-nose syndrome.
There is also a great need for an accurate and timely account of the distribution of white-nose syndrome as well as how bat populations are responding to the disease. With their broad network of wildlife professionals distributed across the country, federal and state agencies can play a central role in the monitoring and surveillance of the disease and corresponding bat populations.
Finally, the potential loss of any threatened or endangered bat species due to white-nose syndrome is a big concern and the agencies can be working to develop strategic conservation action plans for particularly sensitive species and populations of bats.
Most importantly, though, the US Fish and Wildlife Service should act quickly to finalize the national plan so that the critical work of coordinating these efforts can get underway. Click here to tell the Service to prioritize their work on white-nose syndrome and lead the effort to save our bats.