Arkansas Bat Species Declining From White-Nose Syndrome

Surveys conducted by researchers across Arkansas last winter found that populations of several species of Arkansas bats are beginning to fall due to the impact of White-nose Syndrome. White-nose Syndrome is a disease that affects hibernating bats and is named for the white fungus that appears on the muzzle and other parts of hibernating bats. The disease is associated with extensive mortality of bats in eastern North America

White-nose Syndrome was first found in the state in 2012 and is now present in at least 15 Arkansas counties. According to Blake Sasse, the Commission’s nongame mammal program leader, “We’re still in the early stages of the spread of this disease as only about half of the caves we monitor for rare bats now have WNS or the fungus that causes the disease.”
The tri-colored bat, once common in most Arkansas caves and mines, declined by about 66 percent from 2015-16 to 2016-17 and the statewide estimate for little brown bats in Arkansas went from around 1,800 bats in 2009 to only 80 last winter.

Another species, the northern long-eared bat, was listed as Threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service solely because of WNS.    MORE

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