The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is awarding more than $950,000 to 28 states for projects to combat and study white-nose syndrome, the deadly disease that is decimating bats. North Carolina is set to receive $45,000 through the program; Tennessee is slated for $47,500.
The money will help state wildlife officials fund and support research, monitor bat populations and detect and respond to white-nose syndrome. The disease is spreading rapidly. First discovered in upstate New York in 2006, it is now prevalent in 22 states and five Canadian provinces as of this year. The fungus-caused disease has also found its way into Western North Carolina. It is one of the most devastating diseases affecting wildlife. Estimates pace the bat death toll at more than 5.7 million.