Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Commissioner of the Kentucky Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Resources Testifies before House Subcommittee on White-Nose Syndrome and Bats

Dr. Jon Gassett, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, testified on June 24, 2011 before a House Natural Resources Subcommittee concerning the incidence and spread of White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) in hibernating bat species, and the development and implementation of a federal-state national response plan.

WNS has devastated populations of several species of hibernating bats since it was first identified in the United States in 2006. State and federal agencies are mobilizing efforts to monitor the disease and hopefully bring it under control.

"During the last several years, my personal involvement with WNS has grown from watching its advance--moving southward and westward--to bearing responsibility in my own state upon confirming WNS in Kentucky this spring," said Gassett. "I am encouraged at the the amount of dedication and commitment by a community of individuals who care deeply about our bat resources. At the same time, I am concerned at the rate of spread, the high suspect ability of certain species and the lack of available treatment options."

Dr. Gassett is the Vice President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Chair of AFWA's WNS Working Group.