Bats for the Future Fund
The Bats for the Future Fund provides funding for existing and novel treatments for white-nose syndrome, a disease that has killed over 6 million bats over the past decade.
Bats play critical roles in the U.S. controlling agricultural, forest, and human pests. Recent studies estimate that the pesticide services of bats are worth more than $1 billion annually to the U.S. corn industry alone, and more than $3 billion annually to all agricultural production.
Unfortunately, more than 6 million bats have died over the past decade from the white-nose syndrome disease (WNS) spread. In some sites where WNS has been detected, up to 100 percent of bats have disappeared. Since signs of the disease were first observed in New York in 2006, WNS has spread rapidly from the Northeast to the Midwest, Southeast and eastern Canada, and in the spring of 2016 was found in Washington state.
WNS is caused by a cold-loving fungus that attacks hibernating bats. More than half of the bat species in the United States and Canada hibernate to survive the winter, and are potentially susceptible to this disease. Without a solution to this devastating problem, several bat species may be in danger of extinction.
The Bats for the Future Fund provides grant funding to slow or halt the spread of WNS in North America and promote the survival and recovery of WNS-affected bat populations and species. Objectives are to implement field treatments, management tools and conservation strategies that help WNS-affected bat populations to recover from the impacts of WNS, and support innovative and collaborative research leading to development and deployment of treatments and management tools or strategies for WNS that will perpetuate viable populations of bats. Major funding for the Bats for the Future Fund is provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with additional funding from Southern Company and the Avangrid Foundation.
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