Does Government Plan to Combat White Nose Syndrome Go Far Enough?

White Nose Syndrome has claimed the lives of over one million bats in North America over the last four years. With the rapidly spreading disease showing no signs of slowing down, conservationists are leaning on federal agencies to speed up their response.

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OPEN: White Nose Syndrome has claimed the lives of over one million bats in North America over the last four years. With the rapidly spreading disease showing no signs of slowing down, conservationists are leaning on federal agencies to speed up their response. The Allegheny Frontís David Hoedeman has more.

HOEDEMAN: The U.S. fish and wildlife service recently released a draft of a wide-reaching national plan to combat White Nose Syndrome. The plan calls for increased coordination and communication among state, federal and tribal environmental organizations. But some conservationists, like Molly Matteson with the Center for Biological Diversity, say that this plan falls far short of the mark.

MATTESON: They should have, by now, gotten to a very clear action plan. And they should had steps and they should have had a budget and weíre not there yet. And given the rate at which the government has been moving on this, Iím not sure weíll see that for another couple years. [0:14]

HOEDEMAN: Matteson characterizes the spread of the fungal disease as a dire situation, citing the ecological importance of bats in insect control. She says that several bat species in the Northeast have already been, ìvirtually wiped out,î and she warned that this winter, Pennsylvaniaís bat population faces potential devastation.

The draft of the fish and wildlife service plan can be found at www.fws.gov/whitenosesyndrome, and it is open to public comment until December 26th.

For the Allegheny Front, Iím David Hoedeman.