WNS Confirmed at Fern Cave National Wildlife Refuge, Alabama

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has confirmed the presence of white-nose syndrome at Fern Cave National Wildlife Refuge in Jackson County, Alabama. Fern Cave provides winter hibernation habitat for several bat species, and contains the largest documented wintering colony of federally listed endangered gray bats, with over one million gray bats hibernating there. The disease was confirmed in tri-colored bats that were collected at two entrances to the cave.

Although no visible fungal growth was observed on hibernating gray bats during these winter surveys, lab testing detected the presence of fungal DNA on swabs submitted from several live gray bats.

The disease is not currently known to cause mortality in gray bats, and the potential impact of WNS on gray bat populations is still unknown.