Date: 7/30/17 4:53 pm From: Anderson, Christopher D (DFW) <Christopher.Anderson...> Subject: [Tweeters] RE: OT: Eastern bats
Hi Josh and Tweets,
You make an excellent point. White-nose Syndrome (WNS) can have pretty much a 100% mortality rate in bats affected. In short - if they get this disease, they are toast.
Plus, other species of bats carry the fungus (as well as insects, people, equipment, etc.) that can cause this disease - pretty much the number one wildlife epidemic in the world right now!
This is concerning, saddening and very serious regarding ecosystem processes and biodiversity patterns.
We have White-nose Syndrome in WA. We were the first state west of the 100th meridian - March 2016 - King Co. My four-year-old (and my two-year-old) can guess as well as I can as to how. I figure it came in on "big foot" or from an "alien ship"...or at least that is my repetitive "I have no clue and cannot even begin to speculate" answer. Insane answers can help in the I have no clue and neither does anyone else department at times....
WDFW is actively asking for everyone's help to report ROOSTS and DEAD OR ILL bats.
A reporting tool can be found here - note report buttons in upper right-hand side of this webpage:
The issue we have here in WA, particularly the wet west side, is that most of the bats known or potentially to be affected due to relatedness to their eastern counterparts do not hibernate in caves or mines like in the east - so we have NO clue as to where they go in the winter. There are guesses and some work here and in other western states hinting at some winter hibernacula features - but no "thousands of bats in a cave or mine" situation here. Which, given this pathogen is most lethal during hibernation - makes it a rub for surveillance and monitoring of our local bat populations. We have 15 species of bats in WA. We'd like to keep it that way!
I ask all to please look at the above state WNS website as well as similar conservation and recent findings websites related to WNS collaborative efforts with many partners - public, private, NGO; which may be found near the bottom of the state page. Please share. Note there is a poster and a fact sheet near the bottom. These can be printed out, posted or passed out where one has permission....
We need our bats. I appreciate all that can be done to network the word that WA State (and other western states) are looking for reports of e.g. maternity colonies (where they have pups), often used roosts (say 5-10 bats or more regularly at any time of year), sick/ill/dead bats (how we've documented WNS in WA thus far), etc.
Tests being done on guano/sediment from summer roosts and dead bats have provided some minor insight into where the fungus that causes WNS is locally as far as we know - but until we have better understanding of our local bats' winter haunts - it is a major task involving multiple entities to tackle this in anywhere near the same on-the-ground efforts as out east and in Canada. They continue to struggle in "what to do" our east as well. They have an ability to better track local population losses in situation but it is still extremely depressing and desperate. I wish I could be a bit more upbeat.
District 12, King County
WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife - Region 4
16018 Mill Creek Blvd.
Mill Creek, WA 98012
425.775.1311, ext 111
Want to attract more wildlife to your property?
Check out the WDFW Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Program:
I'm spending the week at the old family cabin in Vermont, and when we arrived yesterday in the twilight, there were several bats flitting about. (Not an expert by any means, but I think big brown bats. Too big to be little brown bats.)
I had thought that the white-nose fungus pretty much wiped out eastern bats, but I guess these ones don't know about it, or survived it, or something. It made me feel hopeful, something I have not been feeling lately. Yay bats!