Lab Canada

White-nose syndrome in bats research gets extra funding

Ottawa, ON- Canada’s Ministry of the Environment has announced extra funding to respond to White-nose Syndrome, a fungal disease that is threatening bat species in North America. An additional $330,000 in funding over the next four years is being provided to the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre at the University of Saskatchewan.

The new contribution agreement will facilitate national coordination, surveillance and response to the danger posed by White-Nose Syndrome to bat species in Canada. National coordination will ensure efficient and effective use of resources in areas such as disease surveillance, reducing rates of transmission, public communication, and research into appropriate conservation actions, as well as facilitating information exchange with similar interests in the United States. An initial amount of $50,000 was awarded earlier this year to the centre to support surveillance and related activities.

White-Nose Syndrome has led to serious declines in bat populations throughout eastern Canada and the eastern United States. More than 5.5 million bats are estimated to have died so far. Locations in Canada where bats are known to have been exposed to the fungus for two years or more have experienced declines of over 94 percent, with some as high as 99 percent. The three bat species that are affected are the Little Brown Myotis (also called Little Brown Bat), the Tri-colored Bat (formerly called Eastern Pipistrelle) and the Northern Myotis (also called Northern Long-eared Bat).

The Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre has extensive knowledge and expertise in the field of national wildlife disease issues, and is set up for working with wildlife disease experts across all jurisdictions of Canada.