Bat experts gather to discuss population decline | News

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Bat experts gather to discuss population decline
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SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Bat experts from along the East Coast are gathering in South Portland to discuss bat populations from state to state.

Many of the bat populations have been rapidly declining in recent years because of a disease called "white nose syndrome," which can cause wing scarring, and in some cases, force bats to use up stored fat during hibernation until they become emaciated and die.

"The most noticeable sign is a white fungal growth on the snout, and in the caves that's usually a sign of a bat on the way out," said Charlie Todd, endangered species coordinator for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Experts still do not know what causes it or how to treat white nose syndrome.

The decline has been so rapid in recent years, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is pushing to add two bat species to the state Endangered Species List.

Experts said bats are crucial for pest control. According to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, a nursing female little brown bat may consume her body weight in insects, like mosquitoes, each night.


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