Group Wants To Close Caves Nationwide To Protect Bats

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An advocacy group alarmed over the mass die-off of bats with white-nose syndrome has asked the Department of Interior to close all bat caves and mines on federal land nationwide.

The Center for Biological Diversity made the request in a petition Thursday to Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar. The center also asked for endangered species protection for two types of bat hit hard by white-nose – the eastern small-footed bat and the northern long-eared bat.

White-nose is estimated to have killed more than a million bats in nine Eastern states, including Vermont, since it was first noticed in New York in 2006. The syndrome is named for the sugary smudges of fungus on affected bats.

Many government agencies have already closed caves in hopes of checking the spread of white-nose.

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