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Conserv Biol. 2011 Feb;25(1):189-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01603.x. Epub 2010 Nov 5.

Management of the panzootic white-nose syndrome through culling of bats.

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Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, U.S.A.


The probability of persistence of many species of hibernating bats in the United States is greatly reduced by an emerging infectious disease, white-nose syndrome (WNS). In the United States WNS is rapidly spreading and is associated with a psychrophilic fungus, Geomyces destructans. WNS has caused massive mortality of bats that hibernate. Efforts to control the disease have been ineffective. The culling of bats in hibernacula has been proposed as a way to break the transmission cycle or slow the spread of WNS. We formulated a disease model to examine the efficacy of culling to abate WNS in bat populations. We based the model dynamics on disease transmission in maternity roosts, swarms, and hibernacula, which are the arenas of contact among bats. Our simulations indicated culling will not control WNS in bats primarily because contact rates are high among colonial bats, contact occurs in multiple arenas, and periodic movement between arenas occurs. In general, culling is ineffective in the control of animal diseases in the wild.

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