Feds grant $1.4 million to investigate bat killer

Albany, N.Y. (AP) – Federal officials are granting $1.4 million to scientists investigating deadly white-nose syndrome in bats.

The fungal infection has killed more than 5.5 million bats in eastern North America since it was first detected in upstate New York in 2006.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Friday announced seven grants totaling $1.4 million to investigate white nose and to identify ways to manage it. Wildlife officials say the insect-eating bats are crucial to the nation's ecology and the economy.

Projects will include a detailed study of the fungus that causes white nose and developing ways to control it.

White-nose syndrome has been confirmed in 19 states and four Canadian provinces at caves and mines where bats hibernate.

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