Briefing: What's Killing All of the Bats? And Why Should We Be Worried?

Thursday, March 22, 2012
1:30 pm
Russell Senate Office Building 328a

Senator Leahy, Senator Cardin, and Senator Lautenberg are hosting a briefing and discussion of White-Nose Syndrome in bats, an emerging ecological and animal welfare crisis that poses a threat to agriculture, the environment, and economic activity that is spreading across the country.

White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) is estimated to have killed well over five million bats since its discovery in 2006. Since then, it has caused the most precipitous decline of North American wildlife in the past century. With the announcement yesterday of the discovery of WNS in Alabama, a total of 17 states and four Canadian Provinces have been confirmed with the disease. This
finding in Alabama represents the southern-most occurrence of WNS in North America.

The loss of bats will likely have serious consequences, costing our nation?s farmers billions of dollars. Since bats eat many insects, including pests that damage crops such as corn, cotton, and potatoes, and that carry diseases such as West Nile
Virus. Mining, energy development, tourism, and other industries will be affected if more bat species are declared threatened or endangered. And the absence of this keystone predator may have profound impacts on the environment.

You are invited to attend this briefing to hear from leading experts who will address these topics and more, including what can be done to stop WNS.


· Jeremy Coleman, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - National
White-nose Syndrome Coordinator

· Paul Phifer, Assistant Regional Director for Ecological
Services - USFWS Northeast Region

· David Blehert, Microbiologist for the USGS National Wildlife
Health Center

Peter Youngbaer
White Nose Syndrome Liaison
National Speleological Society
(802) 272-3802