White-nose syndrome discovered in Colorado

A Yuma bat became the first bat in the state to test positive for the deadly disease

A bat infected with white-nose syndrome has been confirmed in Colorado for the first time. 
The adult female Yuma bat (Myotis yumanensis) was found March 29 by National Park Service staff at Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site in Otero County, outside of La Junta. It was on the ground and unable to fly and appeared to have a white powdery substance on its forearms. NPS staff euthanized the bat and sent it to the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center for testing.

Laboratory tests confirmed the bat was positive for Pseudogymnoascus destructans, or Pd, the fungus that causes the disease, which has killed millions of bats in North America.
Last summer, USGS researchers detected the fungus at the site, as well as in Baca, Larimer and Routt counties, but none of the bats had signs of the disease.

“After the discovery of Pd last year, we expected this news was inevitable in a year or two, given the experience in other states as white-nose syndrome has spread westward,” said Tina Jackson, Colorado Parks and Wildlife species conservation coordinator.

CPW plans to continue bat surveys this year to assess the spread of the disease.

White-nose syndrome has been confirmed in 12 North American bat species in 39 states and seven Canadian provinces. Of the 19 bat species native to Colorado, at least 13 may be susceptible to this disease.

Read more from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Header Image: A Yuma bat, like the one pictured, tested positive for white-nose syndrome in Colorado. It’s the first evidence of the disease in the state. Credit: Daniel Neal