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The Green Life: Bats in Trouble

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August 05, 2008

Bats in Trouble

Looks like bats are in need of a caped crusader. A mysterious malady called White Nose Syndrome (WNS) has been killing bats in the Northeast. Kirsten Weir examines the disease in Salon.com's new Environment and Science section, explaining that "WNS is to bats what colony collapse disorder is to bees, another baffling lethal syndrome." WNS gets its name from the white fungus found growing on the muzzles of dead and dying bats; however, the fungus is believed to be a symptom and not the cause of the disease. Bats with WNS are often emaciated, but little is known about what is causing the animals to lose weight. The environmental impact of the bat deaths could be far-reaching, as bats are a major controller of insects, including mosquitoes. In one night, an average bat can eat half its weight in insects. If the bats go, we'll all be feeling the bite.

Watch the video below for a report on WNS by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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