WANTED! Bat observations to assist with disease surveillance
November is the beginning of the period when wildlife managers begin actively looking for white-nose syndrome (WNS) positive bats. As the disease and the causative agent of the disease were detected in Wyoming and South Dakota last spring it is not unrealistic to believe it may spread to Montana this winter. Wildlife enthusiasts are key to early detection and your help is greatly appreciated!
Sick or dead bats found between the months of November and May should be reported….photos are helpful! Bats with readily noticeable signs of WNS infection are of particular interest. Signs of infection may include:
- White or gray powdery fungus seen around the muzzle, ears, wing/limbs, and/or tail,
- Aberrant bat behaviors (bats found on ground inside or outside the hibernaculum, bats roosting near hibernaculum entrance, increased bat activity outside the hibernaculum during cold weather.)
- Two or more sick or dead bats found in the same general area, even without signs of infection are also of particular interest.
Staff from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Montana Natural Heritage Program and land management agencies can assist in determining when bats need to be collected and how exactly to do that collection. Further information about WNS can be found at (www.whitenosesyndrome.org) and surveillance across the country can be found on the National Wildlife Health Center WNS page (https://on.doi.gov/2DOkQhq).
Key contacts :
- Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Health Lab (406-994-6358)
- Lauri Hanauska-Brown, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (o: 406-444-5209, c: 406-465-2917)
- Dan Bachen, Montana Natural Heritage Program (o: 406-444-3586, c: 406-546-4302)
- Bryce Maxell, Montana Natural Heritage Program (o: 406-444-3989, c: 406-461-1279