White-nose syndrome infects bats with a fungus and can be fatal. It started in New York and has moved as far south as Alabama. Georgia Department of Natural Resources scientists believe it will hit our state sometime this year. So they want to get a handle on the state’s bat population.
Georgia biologists are praising the allocation of federal money to study and monitor a disease devastating bats around the country. Congress is directing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to spend $4 million to beef up research on white-nose syndrome. It kills bats that serve an important role in insect control and as food for larger animals.
A disease known as white-nose syndrome is killing thousands of bats every year in the northeast. And it’s spreading south. It hasn’t made it to Georgia yet, but wildlife officials are watching – and waiting – for the mysterious fungus to start showing up on bats here.