Why Science is Battling a Bat Apocalypse

A flesh-eating fungus has been annihilating bat populations in North America.

(Getty Images)
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In the last decade, a flesh-eating fungus has been annihilating bat populations across North America, killing upwards of six million bats. But scientists aren’t ready to give up hope. They are coming up with clever new projects to fight back against Pseudogymnoascus destructans, or Pd, and are testing everything from pineapple extracts and ingredients in constipation medicine to lickable vaccines and ultraviolet radiation, reports National Geographic. 

Pd was first found in New York in 2006. It causes “white nose syndrome,” and it can be found in 33 states and seven Canadian provinces.

“Some species have been absolutely decimated,” says Winifred Frick, chief scientist at Bat Conservation International, according to Nat Geo. “We call long-eared bats, little brown bats, and tricolored bats ‘the big three’.”

Frick says the disease is incredibly “vexing and difficult to solve” but scientists are pooling creative energies and working together to find an answer. Bats play an important role in many environments. Some bats pollinate flowers or spread seeds, while other bats help control pests by eating insects.

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