"Bat Advocate: 'The Public Needs To Know' About White-Nose Syndrome"

"HELENA, Mont. -- A wildlife advocacy group is suing the U.S. Forest Service to seek the release of documents about how the agency plans to keep a disease that already has killed millions of bats in the U.S. and Canada from spreading to the Northern Rocky Mountains."

"The Center For Biological Diversity, which has an office in Vermont that has worked heavily on the bat-disease issue, wants an explanation of why the federal agency has taken no action to keep white-nose syndrome out of the Forest Service’s northern region, which includes Montana, Idaho and parts of Washington, North Dakota and South Dakota.

The center says the fungal disease has killed 7 million bats so far, with the eastern U.S. particularly hard-hit. The mysterious illness can be spread by spores that attach to cave explorers’ gear.

The disease has not been documented in the caves and abandoned mines of the Northern Rockies, but preventative measures must be taken now to halt the spread, said Mollie Matteson, a conservation advocate for the group who works out of its Vermont office, in Richmond."

Matt Volz reports for the Associated Press May 18, 2012.

Source: AP, 05/21/2012