White-nose syndrome, a deadly disease responsible for the deaths of millions of bats in eastern North America, has been discovered in Haywood County.
The disease was confirmed this month by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission in bats collected from an abandoned mine. It was previously discovered in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in a retired Avery County mine, a cave at Grandfather Mountain State Park, a McDowell County cave, an abandoned mine in Yancey County, and near the Commission’s Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education in Transylvania County.
“We and our conservation partners are focusing resources on collaborative efforts, including monitoring the spread of the disease, monitoring North Carolina bat populations, and finding ways to address the effects of the disease on bat populations,” said Chris McGrath, wildlife diversity program coordinator with the commission.
The fungus that causes white-nose syndrome has been detected on nine species of bats so far in North America. In North Carolina, 17 species of bats are known to occur, and eight of those are species on which the fungus has been detected nationwide. Three species in North Carolina have been documented with the disease.