White-nose Syndrome Detected in Western Newfoundland

White-nose syndrome has been confirmed in three bats in western Newfoundland. This bat disease has decimated hibernating bats throughout the Maritime provinces and the northeastern United States.

White-nose syndrome gets its name from a ring of white fungus that forms on infected bats’ faces. Infected bats suffer severe damage to wing tissue, awaken more frequently from hibernation, and use up limited energy reserves quickly. The animals often perish at hibernation sites or on the landscape while attempting to find food and water.

Both the bats in Newfoundland and Labrador are susceptible to white-nose syndrome. In most other areas outside of this province where the disease has spread, hibernating bat populations have declined by 90 to 99 per cent over a period of about two years.

Forestry and Wildlife Branch staff, in conjunction with the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, are continuing to survey for the disease in the province. Testing dead bats is a very important tool in the early detection of white-nose syndrome.

Officials are asking for the public’s assistance to report known or potential bat hibernation sites and dead or sick bats found on the landscape by taking a GPS coordinate and photograph if possible, and then contacting their local Forestry and Wildlife office or the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative at 1-833-434-BATS (2287). It is important to remember to never touch bats with bare hands.