a deadly disease that has ruined bat Populations have made their way to Saskatchewan over the years across North America.
The province has confirmed its first case white nose syndrome – A fungal infection that attacks bats in hibernation and causes widespread mortality in several bat species, including the endangered little brown bat.
on Thursday, Ministry of Environment shared the news of the confirmed case in a post on Facebook, which states that the disease was found in a small brown bat in a campground on the eastern block of Meadows National ParkLocated in the Southwest region of Saskatchewan.
“This is the first confirmed case of white nose syndrome in Saskatchewan, making it more important than ever to report any bats found dead or on the ground,” the ministry said in its social media post.
“It poses a threat to several bat species in the province, including the federally endangered little brown bat and the northern long-eared bat.”
Trent Bollinger said he received the bat in late June for further analysis.
Bollinger serves as a wildlife pathologist and regional director for the Wildlife Health Cooperative of Canada, and as a professor in the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine.
He described how white-nose syndrome was first introduced to North America in 2006 when it was reported in New York State. This has resulted in the decline of populations of some species of bats in large caves in eastern North America.
“Thousands of bats congregate in large caves in winter. The fungus takes hold in those populations and we see mortality rates ranging from 95 to 100 percent in hibernating bats,” Bollinger said.
White-nose syndrome is caused by a fungus that can be recognized as a white fuzz on a bat’s face.
The fungus migrates behind the skin of bats in hibernation or dormancy and causes erosions and ulcers, damaging body parts such as the nose, tail or wings.
As a result, this mammal becomes more active than usual and uses up the energy reserves it needs to survive the cold months.
In the end, the animal dies due to lack of energy.
Bollinger said it was detected in bat droppings at the base of bridges and other locations last summer, noting that the province, which recorded its first documented case of the disease, doesn’t have much hope. Cases have also been reported over the years in Manitoba and more recently in North Dakota.
However, he added that this first occurrence of the disease is an isolated situation as it directly affected bats in the province.
“The fact that we have detected it in Saskatchewan shows that this is something that could be causing the decline in small brown bat numbers in the province,” he discussed. “This is just another strain on populations contributing to the decline of the little brown bat and other bat species in North America.”
People are encouraged to email reports of dead or sick bats to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative.
Bollinger said it is unlikely bats will suffer from white nose syndrome during the summer because it is a disease that is most likely to be picked up in the late winter months or early spring.
However, he said there are other diseases that can cause mortality in bats that he is interested in documenting.
report can be submitted [email protected] Or by calling 306-966-5815.
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