Inside Region 3
Midwest Region
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Northern long-eared bats are proposed as endangered primarily due to impacts of white-nose syndrome.  Photo courtesy of Steve Taylor/University of Illinois

Northern long-eared bats are proposed as endangered primarily due to impacts of white-nose syndrome. Photo courtesy of Steve Taylor/University of Illinois.

White-nose Syndrome Update

First documented in New York in the winter of 2006-2007, white-nose syndrome is a disease affecting some species of cave-hibernating bats. Bats with white-nose syndrome act strangely during cold winter months, including flying outside during the day and clustering near the entrances of caves and other hibernation areas. It is estimated that white-nose syndrome has killed more than 5.5 million bats in the Northeast and Canada. In some areas, 90 to 100 percent of bats have died. 
 
In the past two years, the fungus or the disease itself has been found in all eight Midwestern states, with the most recent detections in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Midwest is now bounded by white-nose to the south, east and north, with the disease confirmed in Arkansas, the southeast, and Ontario. As of August 2014, bats with white-nose syndrome were confirmed in 25 states and five Canadian provinces.
 
White-nose syndrome is the primary threat to the northern long-eared bat, which was proposed as endangered in October 2013. The Service, with the Midwest Region as lead, is in the midst of an effort to gather and analyze the best available scientific and commercial data, and are reaching out to state, tribal, federal and non-governmental partners to inform the final listing decision, which is due April 2, 2015.
 
 In the meantime, finding a way to slow or stop the spread of white-nose syndrome is among the Service’s top priorities. In the latest round of requests for proposals for white-nose grants to states, 30 states, including all eight states in the Midwest Region, were awarded funding for white-nose related efforts. More than $1.2 million was awarded in August, with $280,000 granted to Midwest states. Find out more about the northern long-eared bat at www.fws.gov/midwest/NLEB
 
By Georgia Parham

Last updated: September 4, 2014