Public-private partnership means nearly $1.4 million to fight bat disease

HOUSTON — A public-private partnership is granting nearly $1.4 million to test treatments to halt a disease threatening the nation’s bat population.

The white-nose syndrome fungus, first detected in New York state in 2006, has spread to 31 states and five Canadian provinces. Texas and Nebraska are the most recent states infected.

The grants announced Tuesday in Houston include more than $320,000 to Texas Tech University and Bat Conservation International to assess whether specific microclimate conditions can be manipulated to minimize the disease. It attacks hibernating bats and is responsible for killing more than 6 million bats over the past decade.

The partnership called the Bats for the Future Fund includes the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Shell Oil and Southern Co.

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