The Alabama Bat Working Group was formed in February 2009 to bring together individuals, organizations, and agencies interested in conserving the state’s bat species. In summer 2009 the group formed a committee known as the Alabama White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) Management Team to develop a management strategy for this fungal pathogen and its deadly effects. WNS has killed up to 100% of hibernating bats in some caves in the Northeast and has been spreading rapidly south since 2006. It is currently found as far south as northeastern and northcentral Tennessee.
The Alabama WNS Management Plan is now complete. It has five broad objectives, including slowing the spread of WNS in the state’s bat populations, expanding surveillance and monitoring efforts, conserving genetic diversity of all bat species, developing and implementing a communications strategy, and obtaining the permits and resources needed for plan implementation. Chairs/Co-chairs of five subcommittees will oversee implementing the objectives. In addition, the team plans to use volunteers to help with implementation. We’ll need help with summer and winter monitoring programs and in other ways once we’ve developed specific action plans.