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Endangered bats on vacation in Missouri and Illinois - and why biologists are tracking them

(Marvin Moriarity/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
A little brown bat showing symptoms of white-nose syndrome in Greeley Mine, Vermont (April, 2009).

Biologists are tracking the Indiana bat at their summer locations through sites in Missouri and Illinois, hoping to gather information that will help numbers rebound for the endangered species.

The bat hibernates in caves in the winter and summers in forested areas, most frequently in the central United States.

But the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that there is a new concern. White-nose syndrome has killed more than 6 million bats in four Canadian provinces and 19 U.S. states since it was first detected in 2006 in New York's Adirondack Mountains. In April, the disease was documented in Missouri. It was the first confirmed case west of the Mississippi River.

The disease could spell more trouble for the Indiana bat.

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