White Nose Syndrome

White nose syndrome (WNS) is a rapidly spreading disease that causes high levels of mortality in bat populations. It is caused by a fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans).

Please help by reporting bats that are flying or found dead, during winter and early spring, to the B.C. Community Bat Program at 

1 855 922-2287 or info@bcbats.ca

Bats infected with WNS develop a white fungus on their nose and wing membranes during the hibernation period, although this fungus may not always be obvious on infected bats. For more information on disease effects, please consult the Factsheet and highlighted websites on the right of this page. 

Since the winter of 2006, WNS has killed over 6 million bats in eastern North America but had not been detected in western North America. However, in March 2016 a single bat carrying the disease was found in Washington State; this is the first case west of the continental divide. It has not yet been detected in B.C. 

WNS can be devastating to affected colonies with mortality rates of 80% to 100% in some cases. Steep bat population declines in eastern North America resulted in an emergency listing of Little Brown and Northern Bats under the federal Species at Risk Act in 2014.

Bats are important to both the environment and economy. Bats are major predators of invertebrates, helping to control forest, agriculture and urban pests. For example, endangered Little Brown Bats can eat 600 mosquitoes per hour. Researchers estimate that bats provide billions of dollars in pest control services annually in North America.

Help Stop the Spread of White Nose Syndrome

Humans may accidentally pick up and transport this fatal fungus. Therefore, protocols have been developed for how to decontaminate clothing and equipment that have been used in high-risk environments such as caves and mines or around bat habitats. Protocols should be followed by any person who is conducting work around bats and/or bat habitats. Decontamination protocols can be found on the right of this page. 

Additionally, long distance transport vessels such as semi-trucks, RV campers, truck trailers, and cargo ships, can inadvertently transport infected bats into new areas.  It is important to be vigilant about closing potential roosting sites (such as cargo hatches, trailers, storage cabinets) to bats at night. It is also important to look for roosting bats in corners and structural crevices of cargo holds and trailers if they have been left open overnight. Bats can also crawl into tent awnings and umbrellas to roost. It is important to unfurl such potential roost locations and check for bats before leaving a site. 

The Province, in partnership with the B.C. Community Bat Program and other concerned groups, are asking the public to be on the lookout for dead or sick bats that may have contracted the invasive fungal disease that causes WNS.

Please help by reporting bats that are flying or found dead, during winter and early spring, to the B.C. Community Bat Program at 

1 855 922-2287 or info@bcbats.ca

Never touch a bat with your bare hands due to a risk of rabies.

If you do find a dead bat, collect it in a plastic bag using leather gloves and label the bag with the date, location, your name and contact information, then put the bag in the freezer and contact the B.C. Community Bat Program.

Contact Information

Contact RAPP at 1 877 952-7277 for wildlife health emergencies or human wildlife interactions where public safety may be at risk.

All other inquiries can be directed to the Wildlife Health Program.

Telephone: 250 751-3234
Alternate
Telephone:
250 751-3219
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