North America’s bats are facing their own devastating pandemic. White-nose syndrome, a disease caused by a cold-loving fungus, has killed more than 6 million bats since it was first detected in an upstate New York cave in 2006. It threatens some species, such as the northern long-eared bat, with extinction.
The fungus, aptly named Pseudogymnoascus destructans, has since spread across the U.S. and Canada—carried both by the routine movements of bats and by hitchhiking on cave-curious humans. In its wake, white-nose syndrome has left carnage: Upwards of 90 percent of some regional bat populations have been wiped out.
“White-nose is so much worse for bats than coronaviruses are to humans,” says Kate Langwig, a