What is in this article?:
- US bat population decimated by white-nose syndrome
- Inconsistent data collection
- 5.7 million to 6.7 million bats have now died from white-nose syndrome. Biologists expect the disease to continue to spread.
- Bats provide tremendous value to the U.S. economy as natural pest control for American farms and forests every year.
Inconsistent data collection
In addition to the lack of population data for many bat species, there has also been a lack of consistency in how bat population data was reported among agencies. As part of the May 2011 national WNS response plan, which was developed by the Service in partnership with a team of federal, state, tribal, and NGO scientists, agencies are addressing this by establishing methods for consistent data collection.
The National Plan for Assisting States, Federal Agencies and Tribes in Managing White-Nose Syndrome in Bats provides a framework for the coordination and management of the national WNS investigation response, and the Service leads an extensive network of partners in implementing the plan.
The Service serves as the primary resource for up-to-date information and recommendations for all partners, such as important decontamination protocols for cave researchers and visitors and a cave access advisory that requests a voluntary moratorium on activities in caves in affected states to minimize the potential spread of WNS.
In addition to developing science-based protocols and guidance for land management agencies and other partners to minimize the spread of WNS, the Service has funded numerous research projects to support and assess management recommendations and improve our basic understanding of the dynamics of the disease.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a
leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service.