Bats in the National Park Service face serious risks from a disease called white-nose syndrome (WNS). In nine years, this fungal disease has killed millions of bats in North America. In some hibernacula (caves or mines where bats sleep through the winter), 90-100% of bat populations have died. Learn more about white-nose syndrome.
Throughout the United States, the National Park Service manages 417 parks. These parks contain 84 million acres. Also, nearly 1 in 4 parks have caves, and 1 in 3 have mines. Many of these caves and mines provide habitat for hibernating bats. These cave- and mine-hibernating bats are at risk of WNS.
Parks in more than half of the United States are affected by the presence of WNS. The map below shows how widespread WNS is in eastern states. Many parks in these areas have likely experienced sharp declines in the bat population due to the disease. Losing an important predator so quickly may affect the ecology of the area. As the disease spreads, scientists consider the impact and potential for impact on national parks to be very high.