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Building a Bat Cave to Battle a Killer

Researchers from the Nature Conservancy have feared that white nose syndrome, a devastating fungal disease that kills hibernating bats by the millions, would come to Bellamy Cave, Tennessee. Last winter it did. The disease has no treatment and no cure. More than five million bats have died.

In response, they have built an artificial cave, a concrete bunker equipped with cameras and a temperature monitor, to study the illness and determine its cause. It can be scoured each spring after the bats leave, something that cannot be done in the complex ecosystem of a natural cave.

The disease does not affect humans. But bats eat prodigious numbers of insects, and one study estimated that if the death toll continued to rise, the cost to farmers in increased use of pesticides would be in the billions.

Via NYTimes - click source for more.

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