Bats exhibiting signs of white-nose syndrome

The bat-killing fungal infection known as white-nose syndrome (WNS) has spread into Tennessee for the first time. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) has confirmed that infected bats were found in Worley's cave in Sullivan County, where they had been hibernating.

Most Tennessee caves were closed to visitors last spring to try to prevent WNS from reaching the state's bats. That effort may have come too late.

WNS has killed hundreds of thousands of bats in the U.S. since it was discovered in New York State just three years ago, including large numbers of endangered Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis). Vermont has lost at least 95 percent of its bats since WNS was first observed within its borders.

Tennessee is not taking the threat lightly. "Bats provide a tremendous public service in terms of pest control," said the TWRA's Richard Kirk in a prepared statement. "If we lose 500,000 bats, we'll lose the benefits from that service and millions of pounds of insects will still be flying around our neighborhoods, agricultural fields and forests." …

Bad news for bats: Deadly white-nose syndrome still spreading

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