Sadly, officials announced today that White-nose Syndrome (WNS), the devastating wildlife disease that has killed more than 5.7 million bats in eastern North America, has reached South Carolina and Georgia. WNS, which first appeared in upstate New York in 2006, is now attacking bat populations in 22 states and 5 Canadian provinces.
In South Carolina, the disease was confirmed in a tri-colored bat found at Table Rock State Park in northern Pickens County. Georgia, joining Alabama as one of the southern-most states with WNS, confirmed the disease in two sites: Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and Cloudland Canyon State Park. Tri-colored bats at both sites tested positive for WNS.
Scientists had hoped that there might be a southern limit to the distribution of this disease, perhaps due to climatic or geographical conditions. Unfortunately, the confirmation of South Carolina and Georgia suggests that southern states are not immune to WNS. The disease has continued to move south and west this year. Fatality rates, some approaching 100 percent, continue unabated at infected sites, even as scientists and conservationists around the continent are searching desperately for solutions.
You can help by donating to BCI’s White-nose Syndrome Program and other critical conservation efforts.
We will continue to send you the latest updates on all WNS developments.
Bat Conservation International
P.S. Learn more about White-nose Syndrome and its tragic impact on North American bats.