Cave surveys to check for bat disease underway

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Wildlife officials say surveys to assess bat populations and monitor the spread of white-nose syndrome have begun in Kentucky.

According to The Independent (http://bit.ly/Nk7Xyn ), roughly half of the 15 species of bats found in Kentucky find the state's caves hospitable for hibernating.

The hibernation period ranges from late November through March, when bats are most susceptible to becoming infected with white-nose syndrome.

The disease has been linked to the deaths of millions of bats of varying species. It's caused by a white fungus that develops on the muzzles, wings and tails of bats.

Brooke Hines, bat ecologist with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, says white-nose syndrome has been detected at more than 30 sites in 16 counties across the state. New sites have been found this year.

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