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Desperate Efforts to Save Endangered Bats May Fail

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A desperate attempt to keep endangered Virginia big-eared bats alive in captivity has shown just how difficult that noble task may be.

The effort was prompted by the discovery of White Nose Syndrome, an extremely virulent disease that has killed more than one million bats since 2007, in one of the handful of caves where Virginia big-eared bats live. Of 40 bats moved to the Smithsonian National Zoo last November, just 11 have survived.

“We were not under the illusion that it was going to be easy. It’s certainly not a surprise to us that the bats died. But the number of bats that died is greater than we had hoped,” said Jeremy Coleman, White Nose Syndrome Coordinator at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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