Officials confirm New Mexico's 1st case of fungal disease of hibernating bats
White-nose syndrome, a fungal disease of hibernating bats, has been confirmed in New Mexico for the first time, authorities said Monday.
The state Department of Game and Fish said samples from two live bats and two deceased bats were collected in late April from caves managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management in Lincoln and De Baca counties.
Those two counties are far from Curry County, which is home to Carlsbad Caverns.
Game and Fish officials said the two dead bats were confirmed with white-nose syndrome — a fringed myotis in Lincoln County and a cave myotis in De Baca County.
They said white-nose syndrome is caused by an invasive fungal pathogen that was previously detected in New Mexico in 2021, but evidence of the bat disease wasn't confirmed in New Mexico until now.
Authorities said the disease has killed millions of bats in North America since 2006.
A powdery, white fungus grows on the skin of hibernating bats, often on the face, leading to irritation and dehydration.
That causes bats to stop hibernating early and exhaust fat stores they need to survive the winter, often leading to death.
BLM will continue to test and implement prevention measures such as restricted access to affected caves to minimize the spread of the disease in New Mexico.
Neither the fungus nor the disease affects humans.