photo: US Fish & Wildlife Service via flickr
White nose syndrome, a disease caused by exposure to a particular fungus, first discovered in 2006, has been afflicting bats in the eastern United States and appears to be spreading. Considering that it's already killed more than a million bats, that's worrisome enough, but new research published in Science predicts that the little brown bat (Mycotis lucifugus) may go regionally extinct because of it. Conservation Magazine sums up the grim future for the little brown bat:
Tapping bat population data collected in the 30 years before the arrival of WNS, the team used computer models to forecast how populations might change in the post White-nose era. The simulations suggest a 99% probability that the little brown bat will become extinct in the Northeastern United States within 16 years if WNS mortality continues at high rates. Even a more optimistic scenario suggests the regional population could plummet from 6.5 million to just 65,000 bats in just 20 years.
Currently average population losses for a colony afflicted with the syndrome are about 75%.
Here's the original: An Emerging Disease Causes Regional Populaton Collapse of a Common North American Bat
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