After the fungus that causes a deadly disease in bats was detected in B.C., residents are asked to report all dead bats to help prevent the spread.
White-nose syndrome is a disease that only affects bats, not humans or pets, but is deadly to bats.
The syndrome is caused by a fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), which was detected in Grand Forks, B.C. last year.
Despite the detection of the fungus, no instances of white-nose syndrome have been confirmed in B.C.
The disease was first detected in New York state in 2006, and has since spread across the country and Canada. It has been detected as far west as central Washington and south-central Alberta.
When bats are in hibernation, if they are affected by white-nose syndrome, they wake up from hibernation in an attempt to wipe off the fungus. Since hibernation requires a lot of energy, waking up can be deadly for the bat and can lead to starvation and hypothermia.
To help detect if the disease has spread to B.C., residents are asked to report any sick or dead bats found before May 31.
“Increasing the number of bat reports from the public is the best chance to understand how WNS might spread and affect local bat populations,” Julianna Laposa-Wilde, Southern Vancouver Island coordinator for the BC Community Bat Program said in a news release.
“Across North America, millions of bats have been killed, and seven of our 15 BC species could be severely affected by the disease.”
There is not yet a proven cure for white-nose syndrome, but some are in development.