White-Nose Syndrome Found in Mid-Lands

Officials with the SC Department of Natural Resources say the white-nose syndrome which has affected bat populations in the upstate has now moved into the midlands of SC. Recently the disease was discovered in a tri-colored bat in Richland County.Previously, the only known cases of the disease in South Carolina had beenfound in the mountain counties of Pickens and Oconee. Mary Bunch, wildlife biologist and statewide bat coordinator with the S.C.  Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in Clemson, said the white-nose syndrome (WNS) jump from the mountains to the midlands was really not all that surprising.  She says,”We need to act like many of the true hibernating bats in the entire state are infected,” Bunch said. “We can’t assume that bats in our coastal region aren’t affected anymore. We still hope that in the coastal area, where winters aren’t as severe, that we won’t lose as many bats to WNS.” WNS has now been confirmed in 25 states, and more than six million bats have been lost in the eastern United States in the past six years. Currently there is no cure or effective treatment for WNS.