Bat Conservation Trust

White-nose syndrome: a deadly threat to bats

BCT urgently needs to raise funds to prepare defences in the worst-case scenario that White-nose Syndrome, the mysterious condition that has killed hundreds of thousands of bats, is discovered in the UK or wider Europe.

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BCT is gravely concerned about the spread of White-nose Syndrome (WNS), a mysterious condition of unknown pathology that has killed hundreds of thousands of bats in northeastern United States. First confirmed in bat colonies in New York in 2006, WNS had spread to Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts by 2008. Earlier this year it was found in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Although no conclusive evidence of WNS has been found in the UK or mainland Europe, recent reports from the Netherlands and Germany of dead bats with fungal growths similar to the tell-tale signs of WNS have added to concerns that the disease will occur here. Taking the precautionary approach, BCT has developed WNS guidelines for bat workers and other users of hibernation sites in the UK and wider Europe, and is continuing to raise awareness and encourage vigilance amongst the wider public. In addition, there is now an urgent need to develop and implement a WNS surveillance programme. There is also a need to formulate contingency plans to ensure a rapid and coordinated response to WNS in the event that it is discovered in the UK or wider Europe. We urgently need to raise funds to continue this work. With your help, we can encourage vigilance and prepare our defences in the worst-case scenario that WNS is discovered in the UK or wider Europe.

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