Experts: white nose has killed at least 5.7M bats
BOSTON—The federal government says biologists estimate between 5.7 million and 6.7 million bats have died in a mysterious epidemic that is spreading across North America, including Massachusetts.
Authorities previously estimated that white-nose syndrome has killed about a million bats.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe says the startling mortality information released Tuesday illustrates the severity of the threat that white-nose syndrome poses for bats, who provide tremendous value to the U.S. economy as natural pest control for American farms, forests and people.
The infection is caused by a fungus that prompts bats to wake from their winter hibernation and die when they fly into the frigid, insect-less winter landscape.
It was first detected in New York's Adirondack Mountains in 2006 and has since spread quickly into 16 states and four Canadian provinces.