June 28, 2013
Deadly Bat Disease Research Grants Awarded By The Fish & Wildlife Service
April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced grant awards to twenty-eight states for white-nose syndrome (WNS) projects. The grants, which range in size from just under $7,000 to approximately $50,000, will be used by state natural resource agencies to support research, monitor bat populations and detect and respond to white-nose syndrome, a disease that afflicts bats."White-nose syndrome has spread rapidly from one state in 2007 to 22 states and five Canadian provinces this year," said Dr. Jeremy Coleman, the Service's national WNS coordinator, in a statement. "These grants provide essential support to our state partners in responding to this disease. The research, monitoring, and actions made possible by these grants have yielded valuable results and insights for our national response to white-nose syndrome."
Wendi Weber, co-chair of the White-Nose Syndrome Executive Committee and Service Northeast Regional Director, said, "This is one of the most devastating diseases affecting wildlife in eastern North America. Best estimates indicate that it has killed more than 5.7 million bats."
WNS was first discovered in New York in the winter of 2006-2007. Since then, it has spread rapidly through the eastern US and parts of Canada, and continues to move westward. The FWS is leading a cooperative effort with federal and state agencies, tribes, researchers, universities and other non-government organizations to research and manage the spread of WNS. The Service has developed science-based protocols and guidance for land management agencies and other partners to minimize the spread of WNS, as well as funded numerous research projects to support and assess management recommendations and improve basic understanding of the dynamics of the disease.
The Endangered Species Recovery program provided funding for the grants. Twenty-eight states submitted proposals totaling $1,042,938. All eligible requests received at least partial funding, for a total of $950,694.
Additional information about WNS, the international disease investigation, and research can be found on the national WNS website at www.whitenosesyndrome.org/.