First, the frogs began disappearing, with as many as 122 species becoming extinct worldwide since 1980. Then honeybee colonies began to collapse. Scientists fear that bats might be next.
For the past three years, biologists in Virginia have been nervously watching a strange die-off of bats in the Northeast as a mysterious fungus spread rapidly through hibernating bat colonies, leaving caves that once served as safe havens for the hibernating creatures carpeted with the tiny, emaciated carcasses of an estimated 1 million dead bats.
Biologists were hoping that the fungus would somehow be contained or would burn itself out. Instead, they were shocked last week when researchers confirmed the presence of the fungus, dubbed white nose syndrome for the ring of white fungus that collects on bats’ muzzles and wings, in two caves in Virginia: Breathing Cave in Bath County and Clover Hollow in Giles County, hundreds of miles from the other known infected caves.
Source: The Washington Post (Read the whole story).