Bad news for Michigan bats: White-nose syndrome found
April 11, 2014
In “A sad day” for Michigan bats: White-nose syndrome found in 3 counties, Michigan Radio reports:
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today confirmed the presence of white-nose syndrome in three counties: Alpena, Dickinson and Mackinac.
White-nose syndrome is blamed for the deaths of six million bats in 27 states and five Canadian provinces since 2006. In some places where the fungus outbreak has taken hold, 90% of the bats have died.
“We anticipated that this day would come. It’s not unexpected. But it’s still a sad day,” says Dan O’Brien, a state wildlife veterinarian. “Once this fungus gets into a bat hibernacula it’s going to be there, current evidence suggests, for a long time.”
The fungal disease could have a big impact on Michigan’s economy. Wildlife biologists estimate bats have a roughly $1 billion impact on the state’s agriculture industry by eating harmful insects.
“At this point, there is no effective treatment for WNS and no practical way to deliver the treatment to millions of affected bats even if treatment existed. Rehabilitation of bats is prohibited in Michigan because of the potential for the exposure of humans to rabies,” said O’Brien. “The best thing the public can do when they find a dying or dead bat is to leave it alone and keep children, livestock and pets away from it.”
Bat die-offs can be reported through an observation report on the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/wildlife or by calling the DNR at 517-336-3050.
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