Tennessee and Kentucky are getting maximum grants under a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service program to combat a disease that is killing bats. Tennessee and Kentucky will each receive more than $45,000. The agency awarded grants totaling nearly $1 million to 28 states.
Dr. Jeremy Coleman, the agency's white nose syndrome coordinator, said the grants provide essential support for monitoring and researching the malady. Coleman said an outbreak in one state in 2007 has spread rapidly to 22 states and five Canadian provinces. Officials estimate the disease has killed more than 5.7 million bats. The disease name comes from a whitish fungus that forms on infected bats' faces. Some emerge from hibernation during cold weather and use up stored fat in a fruitless attempt to feed on insects.