What is White-Nose Syndrome (WNS)?
White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a wildlife disease responsible for unprecedented bat mortality in the northeastern United States. The disease is named for the white fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), that infects skin of the muzzle, ears, and wings of hibernating bats. Since it was discovered in 2006 in upstate New York, millions of bats have died and Pd has been detected as far west as Washington, as far north as Manitoba, Canada, and as far south as Texas. The national White-nose Syndrome Response Team's website provides a wealth of information about WNS and efforts to manage it.
Has WNS reached the Rocky Mountain Region of the National Forest & Grassland System?
In the winter of 2017-2018, Pd was detected and WNS was confirmed in the Rocky Mountain Region in southwestern South Dakota. In the winter of 2018-2019, Pd was presumed and WNS was suspected in southeastern Wyoming. By the winter of 2020-2021, WNS was confirmed in north-central Nebraska and northeastern Wyoming. A map tracking the disease’s progress is kept up to date as new information becomes available.
What is the Forest Service doing to manage WNS in the Rocky Mountain Region?
During 2012 and 2013, the Forest Service completed an environmental assessment with each Forest Supervisor approving individual decision notices and a finding of no significant impact. Review our adaptive management strategy. The Nebraska National Forest was not included in the strategy because there are no known caves or mines on the unit.
How many bat species occur on National Forests & Grasslands within the Rocky Mountain Region?
Twenty-two bat species are known or expected to occur in the Rocky Mountain Region states. Of these 22, 16 species hibernate during the winter and 6 migrate during the winter. Four of the 22 species are currently on the Regional Forester’s Sensitive Species list: fringed myotis, spotted bat, hoary bat, and Townsend’s big-eared bat.
Additional information about bat species in the Rocky Mountain Region is available. (PDF file 160.5 kb)
Where can I find out more about WNS, cave/mine closures, and bats?
- White-nose Syndrome Response Team has answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about WNS.
- Bat Conservation International, Inc. provides a variety of WNS educational information.
- USGS's National Wildlife Health Center explains the threat of WNS to endangered bats and overall bat diversity and provides other resource links.
- National Speleological Society
- Cave Research Foundation
- Colorado Cave Survey