I had ideas for umpteen blogs. Here is where they all somehow converge and I attempt to do something productive with my sprawling web presence.
Saturday, October 3, 2015
New grants announced to help white-nose syndrome research and management
Since 2007, white-nose syndrome (WNS) has wiped out millions of North American bats. Researchers and conservationists are looking for ways to help bats fight the disease. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced in a recent press release that monetary help is on its way with $2.5 million in additional grants to help in research, management and communications projects along that aim.
Since 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has granted more than $24 million to multiple organizations for research efforts and to find ways to slow WNS. “Previous research funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has led to major breakthroughs in our understanding of white-nose syndrome, providing a measure of hope that we can defeat this devastating disease,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.
WNS (Pseudogymnoascus destructans) is a quickly spreading cold-loving fungus that affects cave-dwelling bats during hibernation. The deadly fungus kills 78 to 100 percent of bat populations affected. It enters into the bats’ noses, mouths and wings, causing them to become dehydrated, lose body temperature and burn up their fat stores. The disease interrupts hibernation patterns, causing bats to wake too soon and starve to death in the middle of winter.
WNS along with other factors has contributed to the endangerment of bat populations throughout North America. “Bats are a critical part of our ecology and provide essential pest control for our farmers, foresters and city residents, limiting the need to spray harmful pesticides,” said Ashe. “As the disease continues its spread into new areas, it is more critical than ever that we continue our strong support for solid science to inform wise decisions about our natural resources.”
EurekaAlert reports that four USDA Forest Service studies looking at WNS management received grants, as did 26 other organizations listed in the following three categories: Federal agency projects, such as public health departments, who are increasing research and response to WNS; non-federal research and communications projects such as those at universities; and research projects addressing the White-Nose Syndrome National Plan.
*originally published on the now defunct Examiner.com