White-nose syndrome pushes another Michigan bat species to the edge of extinction
A second kind of bat found in Michigan has been listed as an endangered species.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added the northern long-eared bat to the endangered species list, meaning it’s at risk of extinction. The northern long-eared bat’s range stretches across 37 states, including Michigan.
“We think about 79 to 80% of the species’ entire range is affected by white-nose syndrome and probably it’ll be 100 percent of the range by the end of the decade,” said Fish and Wildlife Service spokesperson Georgia Parham.
White-nose syndrome is a fungal infection. A dozen bat species are affected by white-now syndrome in North America, leading to millions of deaths.
“In some places where northern long-eared bats have been, we’re seeing estimated declines of 97 to 100%,” Parham said.
According to the USFWS, the fungus looks like white fuzz on the muzzle and wings of a bat.
It infects bats during winter hibernation. They wake from hibernation more frequently which can cause dehydration and starvation before spring arrives.
In Michigan, besides the northern long-eared bat, the Indiana bat is also listed on the endangered species list.