Natural, man-made threats put Michigan bats at risk - WNEM TV 5

Natural, man-made threats put Michigan bats at risk

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Scientists say natural and man-made threats to bats in Michigan could wipe out certain populations over the next ten years.

The Detroit News reports the threats include wind turbines, loss of habitat and a disease-causing fungus.

Allen Kurta, an Eastern Michigan University biology professor and bat expert, says the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome is the biggest threat.

The fungus forces the animal to wake up from hibernation frequently. Infected bats use up their fat stores before winter finishes and starve to death.

In 2014, the disease was found in Alpena, Dickinson, Keweenaw, Mackinac and Ontonagon counties. It has since spread to 11 counties.

State officials say the five species most susceptible to the disease are big brown bats, little brown bats, northern long-eared bats, tri-colored bats and Indiana bats.

Copyright 2016 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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