whitenose bat
Photo Courtesy Al Hicks

White Nose Syndrome (WNS) is the greatest catastrophe to ever hit US bat populations. This poorly understood malady causes a white fungus to grow on the noses and wings of hibernating bats, ultimately causing death. The condition was first identified in several caves near Albany, New York in February 2006.

WNS is now showing up in the southeast. In February, 2010, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency confirmed that two bats found in east Tennessee tested positive for WNS. In less than a month, the fungus made a 250 mile leap to western Tennessee to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The cave in Tennessee contains the largest known Indiana bat hibernacula in the state. The Indiana bat is a federally listed endangered species. In mid-April, 2010, the Missouri Department of Conservation confirmed Missouri’s first WNS case. As the disease spreads to the Midwest and to other southeastern states, it threatens the federally endangered bats such as the Indiana bat, gray bat, Ozark big-eared bat, and Virginia big-eared bat, as well as some of the largest bat populations in the United States. Over 90% of the wintering bats in some New England caves and mines have died because of WNS. Research scientists working to identify the source of the fungus and learn why it is killing bats wonder whether they have enough time to find a solution. It has been four years and they are nowhere close to understanding what is happening, or how to stop it.

What we do understand, however, is that we can save bats through the development of captive assurance colonies. Bat World Sanctuary is the only facility to successfully maintain a reproductive colony of insectivorous bats for almost two decades. This colony has reproduced nine times in captivity, including third generation offspring.We are currently working with bat care specialists throughout the U.S. to provide specialized training to others interested in maintaining captive assurance colonies.Additionally, we are seeking land and funds to build a larger teaching hospital and sanctuary for the purpose of housing colonies of bat species in jeopardy of disappearing due to WNS. Please help us by donating to this critical project.


Managing WNS through culling?

WNS DeconProtocolWNS DeconProtocol

WNS Decon Protocol for Cavers WNS Decon Protocol for Cavers

WNS Decon Protocol for Researchers



2006: WNS first identified in a cave in Schoharie County, New York

2007/2008: WNS spreads to other New York caves and into VT, MA and CT.

2009: WNS confirmed in NH, NJ, PA, WV and VA.

Feb 2010: WNS confirmed in MD:

March 19, 2010: WNS confirmed in Ontario, Canada.

March 22, 2010: WNS confirmed in MD.

March 24, 2010: WNS confirmed in Tennessee.

April 12, 2010: WNS confirmed in Quebec, Canada.

April 19, 2010. WNS confirmed in Missouri

April 30, 2010: WNS confirmed in Delaware.

May 3, 2010: WNS confirmed in Oklahoma.

Feb 1, 2011: WNS confirmed in Indiana.

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