Why You Should Care That Millions of Bats Are Infected With a Deadly Fungal Disease

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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (TheBlaze/AP) — Though bats might not be the most favored of creatures among the general public, the mass death of millions already — and more to come — should be concerning given the far reaching effects it could have on the ecosystem.

The fungal disease that has killed millions of North American bats is spreading and now has been detected in half of the United States, officials said Thursday. Wildlife agencies in Michigan and Wisconsin said they had confirmed diagnoses of white-nose syndrome in tested bats, further evidence of the ailment’s rapid expansion since it first was documented in a cave near Albany, N.Y., in 2006. Cases have turned up in most states east of the Mississippi River, with Georgia and Alabama joining the list in March, and as far west as Missouri and Arkansas.

Officials said the latest discoveries were no surprise but a cause for sadness, acknowledging they had no cure and could take only limited steps to protect the winged mammals that provide an enormous economic and ecological benefit by feasting on nuisance insects that gobble crops and trees.

Dan O’Brien, a wildlife veterinarian with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said that scientists “anticipated this day would come.”

“It’s not unexpected, but it’s still a sad day,” he added…

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Source: The Blaze


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