The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing a $100,000 challenge to combat white-nose syndrome (WNS), a lethal fungal disease that has killed millions of bats in North America and pushed some native bat species to the brink of extinction. Awards will be given to individuals or teams who identify innovative ways to permanently eradicate, weaken, or disarm the fungus.
You don’t have to be a bat expert to enter the White-nose Syndrome Challenge. This opportunity is open to anyone with an innovative idea for tools or techniques that will lead to solutions to reduce the effects of the fungus without harming other beneficial species or the environment.
White-nose syndrome is caused by a fungus that sometimes looks like white fuzz on bats’ faces and wings. The fungus thrives in cold, damp places and infects bats during hibernation. It disrupts bats’ winter dormancy, causing them to expend too much energy stored in their fat and often resulting in dehydration and starvation before spring arrives.
Since 2007, white-nose syndrome has been confirmed in 33 states and seven Canadian provinces. At some affected sites, 90 to 100 percent of bats have disappeared, most succumbing to the disease.
There is no known cure for white-nose syndrome, but scientists worldwide are working together to study the disease and how it can be controlled. Winning ideas from this challenge will be the focus of future collaborations with scientists, designers and engineers to bring solutions to life.
The deadline for individuals or teams to enter the Challenge is December 31, 2019 by 11:59 p.m. ET. For additional information regarding rules and eligibility, visit the White-nose Syndrome Challenge web page or www.challenge.gov.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold an informational briefing for anyone interested in entering the Challenge on Nov. 20, 2019 at 2 p.m. ET. Advance registration is required. For more information, please visit the White-nose Syndrome Challenge web-page.
Please help us to spread the word about the Challenge by sharing this email and attached flyer with your peers, contacts, networks and the public. Thank you for joining the fight to save our bats!
WNS Regional Coordinator
North Atlantic-Appalachian Region
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
300 Westgate Center Drive
Hadley, MA 01035
office: (413) 253-8215
mobile: (413) 335-4482