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WAOW: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources fears the bat population is in serious danger

April 2, 2022
long eared bat specimen
Long-eared bats are on the decline in Wisconsin due to the outbreak of white-nose syndrome.

A deadly fungus has been impacting the bat population throughout the United States since 2006.

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is what the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says is to blame for the drastic decline of the state’s cave bat population.

“In 2014 white-nose showed up in Wisconsin and that year we saw an 85 percent decline in little brown bat, ” Chris Yahnke a Professor of Wildlife Ecology at UW-Stevens Point said. “It wasn’t a gradual decline it was a rapid decline.”

WNS very notably shows as a white powdery substance on the nose of bats.

“It’s a fungus that grows in cold moist conditions like caves so when bats hibernate they get this fungus,” Yahnke said. “The fungus gets into the wing membrane, it kind of irritates the bats and they come out of hibernation which is very energetically costly.”

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