NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Federal wildlife officials say biologists have confirmed the existence of a bat malady in two more Tennessee counties.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday it has found white-nose syndrome in caves in Montgomery County of Middle Tennessee and Hawkins County of East Tennessee. In both cases, the fungus has infected federally-protected gray bats.
White-nose syndrome has killed millions of bats in 19 states and four Canadian provinces since it was first documented in New York State in 2006. The mortality rates of some colonies reached 100%.
Gray bats have a limited geographic range in limestone karst areas of the southeastern United States. They are particularly vulnerable to the fungus because they live in large colonies in relatively few caves.
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