Cave restrictions remain in place in Arkansas to stem spread of fungus deadly to bats

  • Updated: July 29, 2013 - 3:10 PM

WEST FORK, Ark. — A fungus that is deadly to bats has been detected in two Arkansas caves and restrictions will remain in place to keep people out of most caves across the state.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said Monday that the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats has turned up in a cave in Devil's Den State Park and in a cave on private land in Baxter County.

Wildlife officials say swabs taken from hibernating bats in February 2012 and last January revealed the fungus was present.

The fungus (Geomyces destructans) was first detected in the eastern United States and Canada. Officials have blocked access to caves to try to keep the fungus from spreading west.

Many Arkansas caves were closed in 2009 and 2010 to protect the bats.

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