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Idaho Heightens Response Efforts For White-Nose Syndrome In Bats

Dave Thomas
Flickr Creative Commons

After the deadly white-nose syndrome was found in a bat in the state of Washington, Idaho is stepping up protections against the fungus.

Idaho Fish and Game says it’s working to prevent the fungus from coming here, while at the same time, making preparations in case it does show up, like creating an inter-agency response plan for Idaho.

The Department says there are 14 bat species living in the state. At least half hibernate here. White-nose syndrome is known to kill hibernating bats.

Bats are vital for a healthy environment. They eat tons of insects nightly, which benefits crops, forests and humans. In Idaho, bats contribute an estimated value of over $313 million in pest control every year to the agricultural industry alone.

Fish and Game says so far, swab samples collected from Idaho bats and their caves have tested negative for the fungus. Idaho is in its second year of participating in the North American Bat Monitoring Program.

The spores that cause white-nose syndrome can linger for years and can be transported on the equipment, shoes and clothes of people in caves. Fish and Game instructs cave visitors to always decontaminate their clothes and gear, and to stay away from bat hibernation sites.  

You can help bats too. If you find a bat that is sick or injured, contact the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. To report unusual bat mortality/behavior or bats with signs suggestive of white-nose syndrome (visible white fungus on the face, wings or tail), please contact the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Wildlife Health Forensic Laboratory at 208-939-9171 or by email at Wildlifelab@idfg.idaho.gov

As Senior Producer of our live daily talk show Idaho Matters, I’m able to indulge my love of storytelling and share all kinds of information (I was probably a Town Crier in a past life!). My career has allowed me to learn something new everyday and to share that knowledge with all my friends on the radio.