White Nose Syndrome on PEI
What is White Nose Syndrome?
White Nose Syndrome (WNS) is a fungal disease that has devastated bat populations across much of eastern North America.
During the winter months, the WNS fungus causes the hibernating bats to wake up and move around. Unfortunately this uses valuable fat reserves so they leave their winter shelter to seek insects to eat. They die quickly from exposure to cold temperatures.
White Nose Syndrome on P.E.I.
There are two species of bat known to breed on the Island:
During the summer months these bats frequent forests, streams, fields and other areas feeding on a wide range of flying insects.
However, there is little information about the Island's winter bat populations. Bats tend to hibernate in large groups during the winter months in locations that have constant but cool (above freezing) temperatures such as caves and large tree cavities. Small numbers may also hibernate inside old barns, abandoned wells and old buildings with stone foundations.
What can be done to stop the spread of this disease?
Presently there is is little that can be done but scientists are working on the problem and monitoring the progress of the disease. The Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative conducts and coordinates WNS research in Canada.
You can report bat sighting on PEI at any time of year by calling 902-368-4683 and providing information on the location of live colonies or dead bats.