- Associated Press - Saturday, September 6, 2014

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has received a federal grant to monitor its bat population and study a disease affecting cave-dwelling bats.

The grant was awarded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Research efforts will focus on White-Noise Syndrome. White-Nose Syndrome is caused by a cold-loving fungus which affects bats while they are in hibernation.

Wildlife officials say mortality from the disease can be extremely high. The bat hit hardest by the disease is the little brown bat. Because all bats in West Virginia feed solely on insects, the loss of bats is a loss of a natural source of insect control.

The disease was first found in West Virginia in 2009.

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