North American bat death toll exceeds 5.5 million from white-nose syndrome

On the verge of another season of winter hibernating bat surveys, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists and partners estimate that at least 5.7 million to 6.7 million bats have now died from white-nose syndrome (WNS). Biologists expect the disease to continue to spread. WNS is decimating bat populations across eastern North America, with mortality rates reaching up to 100 percent at many sites. First documented in New York in 2006, the disease has spread quickly into 16 states and four Canadian provinces. In response, the Service has been leading an extensive network of partners in implementing the national WNS plan to provide a framework of coordination and management, develop science-based protocols and guidance, as well as fund numerous research projects and improve our basic understanding of the dynamics of the disease.