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Bat Population Threatened in Door County

Brooke Hafs

Photo: Video by nbc26.com

Bat Population Threatened in Door County

CREATED Sep. 5, 2013

Egg Harbor--Wisconsin's bat population is being threatened by a deadly fungus that is spreading rapidly into the Midwest. The DNR is working closely with leaders in Door Counto to make sure the White Nose Bat Syndrome doesn't reach Horseshoe Bay Cave in Egg Harbor.

The fungus has spread from New york into Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois and now the Wisconsin DNR is trying to keep it out of our caves.

Horseshoe Bay Cave is home to more than 1,000 bats every winter during hibernation. The cave stretches more than 3,000 feet and is the largest natural cave for bats in the state.

The fungus has spread through 22 states across the U.S. and kills up to 95% of a cave's bat population when it's infected.

Leaders with the DNR say they expect to see the disease reach Wisconsin sometime this Winter. They are taking swab samples inside the cave to make sure there aren't already fungus spores inside the cave.

All four species of bats live in the cave. The DNR currently has the entrence blocked off, so people don't bring in the bacteria.

The bat specialist with the Wisconsin DNR said bats save farmers up to $1.6 billion annually in pesticide costs by eating insects, and losing the bat population could devastate our crops.

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