[PHOTO CREDIT: 2014 CANADIAN COOPERATIVE WILDLIFE HEALTH CENTRE]
Results from this past winter’s surveillance season for white-nose syndrome on bats continue to flow in. WNS has continued to spread west, north, and south in 2014. Particularly bad news for Canada is the finding of a WNS-positive male little brown bat dead on the landscape in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It was hoped that Cape Breton would continue WNS-free and provide a refuge for bats, but that has not turned out to be the case.
These areas suffered major bat mortality over the past few years and their hibernating bat populations are very much smaller than they used to be. It is unknown whether the bats currently being observed can survive WNS over the long term, but it is possible they are resistant to the disease. If they are survivors, it will still take a long time for the population to rebound as female bats of these species only have 1 pup per year. Hopefully this trend will continue!