CHESTER, Calif. - A deadly bat disease has been detected in California for the first time ever.
According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, White Nose Fungus, (WNF) has been detected in lab results performed on bats found on private property in Chester, Plumas County.
The CDFW says it has been preparing, in partnership with other organizations, for the spread of WNF into California since 2009.
In a press release, the CDFW said, "WNS awakens bats during hibernation, causing them to use energy reserves needed to survive winter, when insects they rely upon for food are not available. The fungus was first detected in New York in 2006 and spread incrementally. Bats that have contracted the diseasehave now been confirmed in 33 states and seven Canadian provinces. Including the recent California discovery, the fungus alone has now been detected in a total of five states.
WNS has killed millions of bats in the U.S., including more than 90 percent of the bats in some hibernation colonies. Since bats usually produce only one offspring per year, it could take decades for some populations to recover from a major die-off.
'WNS is considered one of the deadliest wildlife diseases, having killed over six million North American bats since it was discovered,' said CDFW Wildlife Veterinarian and Epidemiologist Dr. Deana Clifford. 'WNS doesn't affect human health or pets, but the ecological impacts of bat die-offs may indirectly impact agricultural systems through loss of the natural pesticide effect and nutrient cycling of bats.'
For those hoping to learn more about bats, The CDFW offers walking bat tours, now through September. Click the link to find out more...