Fungal disease wiping out insect-eating bats
Biologists are taking precautions to stop the spread of White Nose Syndrome, a fatal disease that affects bats
Biologists worry that a deadly disease that's wiping out bat populations may be expanding across northern Ontario.
A fungus called White Nose Syndrome has beens decimating bats in Quebec and eastern Ontario. A leading bat researcher at Western University said the syndrome has been tracked as far west as Wawa and scientists are taking precautions to try to stop the spread.
"If we were working in a mine near Sudbury — a mine in which bats would hibernate — and then we were going to an old mine near Lake Superior, we'd be very careful not to use any of the same equipment or clothing," Brock Fenton said.
"Bat biologists have changed their behavior [and are] now being very careful not to contaminate the site."
Fenton said bats need to be protected, as they're an important part of the eco-system and they help keep insect populations under control.
"It's very hard to tell how important something is in an eco system until it's gone".
Fenton said he's been working on bat research since 1963.
White Nose Syndrome "hasn't been found west of Wawa," he said.
"I'm afraid it's only a matter of time before it shows up. It's lethal. It kills thousands of bats."