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PRE News

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes reclassifying northern long-eared bat as endangered

Northern long-eared Bat
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Digital Library

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a proposal Tuesday to reclassify the northern long-eared bat as endangered. PRE’s Meredith Radford has more.

The northern long-eared bat can be found across the eastern and north-central United States, including much of Eastern North Carolina. It faces extinction due to white-nose syndrome, a deadly fungal disease that affects cave-dwelling bats.

White-nose syndrome has spread to about 80% of the bat species’ range, and nearly all its U.S. range since it was listed as threatened in 2015.

According to a news release, bats are critical to healthy, functioning ecosystems and contribute at least $3 billion annually to the U.S. agriculture economy through pest control and pollination.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is holding a virtual public information meeting on April 7 and public comments can be submitted through May 23rd.

For Public Radio East, I’m Meredith Radford.