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Northern Long-Eared Bat Gains Federal Protection


Northern long-eared bats are killed by White Nose Syndrome when they hibernate.
CREDIT DAVE THOMAS / FLICKR.COM/DAVIDJTHOMAS

For the first time, the U.S. government is protecting one of the nation's bat species that’s being wiped out by a deadly disease.

Millions of bats have died since white-nose syndrome showed up in North America about 10 years ago. One of the affected species is the northern long-eared bat, which lives from north Georgia up to Maine and across the Midwest.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now lists the northern long-eared bat as threatened. The bats are likely to become endangered in the future, said Tony Sullins, who’s with the agency, but they’re not on the brink of extinction yet.

“At this time there is no means to stop the disease from spreading or to prevent the disease from killing bats,” Sullins said.

There are a few exceptions to the protections. For example, in some situations it would be OK to accidentally kill one of the bats while cutting down trees.


This chart shows the northern long-eared bats' habitat range and where the species has been infected with white-nosed syndrome. Bats have been found in north Georgia with the disease.
CREDIT U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE


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Megabats and Microbats: Northern Long-Eared Bat Gains Federal Protection
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