WCS Canada is investigating whether bats could benefit from the same probiotic approach that has taken foods like yogurt by storm. The idea is relatively simple. Bats are dying by the millions due to a fungal disease called White-nose syndrome (WNS). If a “good bacteria” to fight the WNS fungus could be applied to bats, it might be possible to reverse at least some of the devastation being caused by the disease. WCS Canada bat researcher Dr. Cori Lausen is working with colleagues at Thompson Rivers University in B.C. and McMaster University in Ontario on developing just such a probiotic treatment for bats. The goal is to create a probiotic dust that could be applied to bats as they leave summer roosts, such as on buildings. The dust would help protect bats from WNS by inhibiting the growth of the fungus. Thanks to extensive field research, we know that western bats do not gather in large colonies to hibernate during winter like eastern bats do, so an approach especially tailored to western bats is required. See full press release here.
Photo credits: Banner | William Halliday © WCS Canada