A fungus that causes a fatal bat disease has been spotted for the first time in Alberta after causing problems in Saskatchewan.
Last summer, Saskatchewan Environment confirmed on Facebook that white-nose syndrome was found in the province to our east.
It was discovered in Grasslands National Park with this post coming out in July.
“This is the first confirmed case of white-nose syndrome in Saskatchewan, making it more important than ever to report any bats found dead or on the ground,” the post at the time read.
The disease was first discovered in New York in 2006. According to the Government of Alberta’s website, the cause of the disease isn’t known. The name comes from a white fungus ring that can be found on affected bats’ faces and wings.
It attacks the immune system of bats and interferes with their hibernation.
“Hibernating bats of various species are found dying or dead in large numbers in or near caves and mines. Up to 100% of the bats in a cave [can die] in one winter.”
The province asks that anyone who visits a cave, particularly in eastern North America, should be aware of basic precautions to make sure you don’t spread it.
Experts are concerned because of the role bats play in the ecosystem. They help crops by eating night-flying insects.
Saskatchewan Environment said this is not a disease that affects humans but you should be careful when you see a dead bat.
“While white-nose syndrome is not transferable to humans, bats may carry other infectious diseases, including rabies. If you need to move a dead bat, do not use your bare hands; use heavy gloves or a towel.”