UPDATE: DNR confirms bat disease in southwestern Wisconsin

How you can help the bats

If you want to get more involved in helping the bats there are a few things you can do, first by taking an hour class you can become a bat monitor---the DNR will loan you detector that reads the bats echo location and can tell how many bats are around and what species, or if you know of any bat homes, counting them at night will also help the dnr to monitor. For more information on those things click here.
 

UPDATED Thursday, April 17, 2014 --- 5:39 p.m.

A deadly bat fungus has been found on two bats here in Wisconsin and could be affecting many more, and you might care more about bats than you think.

It's killed millions of bats across the country and now Wisconsin is in jeopardy of losing it's bat population.

"To see how it's affected bats out East, it's definitely something I cant brace for."

Whether you love bats like Paul White, or just see them as that pesky problem in the attic, it's a problem you might not have much longer.

"We stand to lose a lot of our bat population in the state."

It's called white nose syndrome. It's highly contagious, and since it's been found in places like New York and Vermont in the past 8 years, it's wiped out 95-100% of the population in some areas.

"With this fungus, it's an irritant, it basically eats at the skin while they're sleeping so while they're hibernating they wake up, with the fungus every 3-5 days on average."

Depleting their fat storage and energy---forcing them to go look for new food and water.

"When you leave Wisconsin's hibernating sites in mid February there's not much to eat and unfortunately they'll either starve or freeze to death."

For some of you, it means your problems fly out the window, but Paul says hold that thought.

"Just think of the services they provide you for free."

Paul says a female bat can eat her body weight in insects each night. That's about 600 fewer mosquitoes you have to deal with, all thanks to one bat. Are you worried about the them yet?

"As someone that's basically devoted his life most recently to bats, it's something that you're hoping for the best but preparing for the worst."

Paul says the worst part is thinking about the future generations.

"I have a child and to be able to have him go out in the evening and be able to see a bat and unfortunately I'm looking down the road and if the disease does anything like it has in the past out east, I'm not sure if that's going to be the case."

Paul says there's not much they can do--but folks can help stop the spread of the disease by leaving anything in the car when going to caves if you've been out of state.

"To see a lot of your life's work go down to zero is certainly something that we as an agency and myself as an individual don't want to see."

And as this disease progresses through the state the DNR says it's very important that you notify them if you see any sick or dead bats.

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UPDATED Thursday, April 10, 2014 --- 1:05 p.m.

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- A fungal disease that has killed millions of North American bats is spreading and now has been detected in half of the United States.

Officials in Michigan and Wisconsin said Thursday they've confirmed that bats in their states have been diagnosed with white-nose syndrome, which first showed up in the U.S. in upstate New York in 2006.

The disease is named for the white fuzz it creates on the animals' noses, wings and tails. It causes hibernating bats to wake frequently, which saps their energy reserves and can cause them to starve or dehydrate before spring arrives.

In some caves where the disease has been spotted, more than 90 percent of bats have died.

Bats are valuable species because they eat insects that otherwise would damage crops and trees.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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Posted Thursday, April 10, 2014 --- 10:16 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wildlife officials have confirmed a deadly bat disease has reached Wisconsin.

The Department of Natural Resources announced Thursday that tests completed earlier this month show at least two bats in a Grant County mine had white-nose syndrome. Visual surveys of 85 other mine and cave sites this winter didn't turn up any other signs of the disease but the DNR is awaiting test results on samples collected at 19 of those sites.

White-nose syndrome, so named for the white fuzz that grows on bats' noses, wings and tails, causes hibernating bats to frequently wake from hibernation, depleting their energy reserves and leading to starvation or dehydration.

The disease has been confirmed in 23 other states so far. It has killed as many as 5 million bats since 2006.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press


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