JEFFERSON CITY, MO (AP) - Missouri is closing most caves in state parks and historic sites to help contain a disease that's fatal to bats.
The Department of Natural Resources says the closings are temporary and will be reviewed in mid-July. Four main tour caves remain open with visitor screening.
The agency hopes to reduce the chances that people who visit multiple caves will spread white-nose syndrome, a fungus that has devastated bat populations in the northeastern U.S.
The fungus has been found in a cave in Pike County, located on the Mississippi River north of St. Louis.
White-nose syndrome causes bats to awaken more often during winter hibernation and search for food. That causes many to freeze or starve.