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Posted Mon Sep 14 2009: from Seattle Times:
Bat experts watch health of Northwest colonies
"We don't expect it to be here already," Ormsbee said. "But we need to start doing surveillance early." More than 1 million bats already have perished in what one expert described as the most precipitous decline in American wildlife in recorded history. Extinctions are likely if the white-nose disease continues to spread, and could lead to a population explosion of mosquitoes and other insect pests normally held in check by the winged predators.... First discovered in 2006 in a popular tourist cave in New York state, white-nose syndrome has spread to hundreds of sites in nine states. Marked by a powdery, white fungus on the bats' noses and wings, the infection can kill 95 percent or more of hibernating animals in a cave. "When I talk to colleagues back East, they tell me they go into these caves and they cry," said Greg Falxa, a bat biologist with Cascadia Research Collective in Olympia. "They can't walk without stepping on dead bats."...
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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's the ghost of the bats of yesteryear.

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