Gallery: Worst Wildlife Disease Outbreak in North America Afflicts Bats...

 

Much has been said about the plight of honeybees and their importance to agriculture, but less has been said about the plummeting bat population. More than one million endangered gray bats hibernate at the Fern Cave National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama, where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) just confirmed that a devastating fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome (WNS) is wrecking havoc. The Center for Biological Diversity calls WNS the worst wildlife disease outbreak to hit North America and warns that the staggering loss of roughly 80 percent of the continent’s bat population could cost agriculture up to $53 billion.

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