Iowa gets federal grant to study white-nose syndrome in bats

Iowa receives part of a $950,694 grant awarded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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Iowa received a $28,800 federal grant to research and monitor bat populations for the fatal white-nose syndrome, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday.

The grant is part of $950,694 awarded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to 28 projects across the country. Included among the awards was $233,000 to eight Midwestern states.

State natural resources agencies will use the funds to support research, monitor bat populations and detect and respond to white-nose syndrome, the service reported.

The caves in Maquoketa Caves State Park in Jackson County were closed to visitors from 2010 to 2012 because of fears humans would spread the fatal fungus to bats. The caves reopened in April 2012, with the requirement visitors participate in an educational program about white-nose syndrome.

Since it was first discovered in New York in 2006, white-nose syndrome is estimate to have killed 5.7 million bats. The disease is named for the white fungus that infects skin of the muzzle, ears, and wings of hibernating bats, the United States Geological Survey reported.

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