Home > Mass Animal Deaths, Pestilence > Deaths of Millions of Bats in North America Linked to Killer European Fungus

Deaths of Millions of Bats in North America Linked to Killer European Fungus

By Margaret Munro – “The death of millions of bats in Canada and the United States has been traced to an ‘invasive’ pathogen from Europe, which may have been carried into North America on someone’s shoes.

An international experiment, run on bats that hibernated in a bio-safety lab in Saskatchewan, has provided the strongest evidence yet that the bat killer is a fungus from Europe.

‘And it’s a reasonable hypothesis that it came in on someone’s shoes,’ says biologist Craig Willis, at the University of Winnipeg, who led the study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More than 90 per cent of bats have been wiped out in colonies in eastern Canada and the U.S. as a result of white nose syndrome, which is caused by the fungus.

‘It’s very bad news,’ Willis says of the syndrome that was first seen in North America in 2006 in a New York cave popular with tourists. The quickly spreading fungus has decimated colonies in the eastern U.S. as well as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario.” Read more.

Flashback: ‘Startling’: Up to 6.7 Million Bats Now Dead of ‘White-Nose’ Fungus in Canada and the United States – “U.S. scientists are estimating that between 5.7 million and 6.7 million bats in Canada and the United States have succumbed to white-nose syndrome, a fungus spreading in eastern North America. The mortality figures were released Tuesday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. ‘White-nose syndrome has spread quickly through bat populations in eastern North America, and has caused significant mortality in many colonies,’ said Dr. Jeremy Coleman, co-ordinator of the U.S white-nose syndrome program. ‘Many bats were lost before we were able to establish pre-white-nose syndrome population estimates.’” Read more.

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