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Posted Fri Aug 28 2009: from Desdemona Despair:
Northeast bat extinctions looming, with 1.5 Million Dead -- white-nose disease to reach U.S. West by 2012
Mounting evidence that several species of bats have been all but eliminated from the Northeast due to a new disease known as white-nose syndrome prompted a conservation group to send a letter today to Sam Hamilton, the new director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, urging that action on the bat epidemic be his first priority.... hite-nose syndrome - so named because of the fungal growth around bats' muzzles - has spread to nine states and killed an estimated 1.5 million bats. Bats from New England to West Virginia are now affected by the illness, and scientists fear that this coming winter the syndrome will show up in Kentucky and Tennessee, where some of the largest bat colonies in the world are located. "Scientists are saying this disease could be on the West Coast in two to three years, at the rate it is spreading," said Mollie Matteson, a wildlife biologist and conservation advocate for the Center in its Richmond, Vermont office. "Some scientists are even warning that under a worst-case scenario, we may lose all bats in North America. Such a tragedy could have disastrous consequences for agriculture and ecosystems because of the role of bats in insect control and pollination."
[Read more stories about: white nose syndrome, ecosystem interrelationships, massive die-off]

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