Experts: Bat fungus causing historic decline

WASHINGTON (AP) - Experts are warning Congress that a mysterious fungus attacking America's bats could spread nationwide in years and represents the most serious threat to wildlife in a century.

State and independent experts told two House subcommittees Thursday that more money and manpower are needed to stop the spread of white-nose syndrome. It is named for the whitish dusting the fungus creates on bats' noses, ears and wings.

First detected in 2007 in an upstate New York cave, the fungus has spread to nine states and killed between 500,000 and 1 million bats, mostly common species.

Recently, it spread to areas close to some of the largest and most endangered bat populations in the U.S. Some caves have been closed to people hoping to prevent spread of the fungus.

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