The northern long-eared bat has been added to the endangered species list
Another animal found in Michigan has been added to the endangered species list. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the northern long-eared bat is on the verge of extinction. The primary cause of the bats' decline is the spread of a deadly disease.
In 2006, dozens of bats were found dead at the bottom of a cave in New York. Scientists determined the animals suffered from a fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease only found in bats and the cold damp places they inhabit. It was the first confirmed cases in the United States.
Since then, the disease has been spreading and has been confirmed in 38 states and 8 Canadian provinces.
Georgia Parham is with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She said classifying the bat as endangered allows for new life-saving measures.
"Any of the flexibilities we had to manage the bat, as a threatened species are kind of removed so that the actions that we take are focused on saving the bats that are left," said Parham.
Bats account for at least $3 billion dollars annually to the U.S. Agriculture economy through pest control and pollination.
Parham said there's a lot of work ahead to keep this bat alive and that the endangered species classification will help, but the bats are becoming harder to find.
"One thing that that is kind of significant is the fact that throughout its range in Michigan and other places, it's becoming increasingly scarce on the landscape, so you're not apt to come across it. It's just very rare right now," said Parham.