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AZGFD receives grant to protect bats

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Arizona Game and Fish Dept.

The Arizona Game & Fish Dept. received a grant to help protect bats from white-nose syndrome.

The $29,839 grant is from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

It was given to 39 states to learn more about the deadly fungal disease, which has already killed millions of bats in North America, according to officials.

The money will be used to research if the fungus is impacting cave-dwelling bats in Arizona, according to a news release.

“The fungus that causes white-nose syndrome has left a lasting impact on the nation’s cave-dwelling bat populations,” said Angie McIntire, an AZGFD biologist and bat specialist. “Bats give birth to only one young per year, so the recovery from this disease will take decades.”

White-nose syndrome was first discovered in winter of 2006-2007 in New York. It gets its name because the white fungus is found on the bat’s muzzle and wings.

Although the syndrome hasn’t spread to Arizona, officials said it’s critical to protect the state’s bat species.