Understudied bat species and populations in the Western United states are facing the arrival of white-nose syndrome (WNS). WNS is a fungal disease affecting hibernating bats that was first identified in 2006 in New York and has since killed millions of bats in eastern North America. Since 2016, our Health Programs' staff have been part of a team collecting baseline empirical data on pre-WNS bat hibernation physiology, behavior, and morphology that can inform our understanding of western bat WNS risk factors with the overall objective of developing the science to help identify species that are susceptible to WNS and thereby species of conservation concern and priorities for possible mitigations.
Our Epidemiologist Dr Sarah Olson was recently interviewed about this critical work by the New York Times:
Saving the Bats, One Cave at a Time