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Disease and wind turbines killing off bats, experts say  

Credit:  AFP, www.montrealgazette.com 1 April 2011 ~~

Call them creepy little creatures if you like, but insectmunching bats are so valuable to U.S. agriculture that their deaths could cost the economy billions of dollars per year, experts said Thursday.

A fungal disease known as white nose syndrome, combined with the rise in wind turbines which can ensnare the dark flyers, have killed off more than a million of the bug predators in North America since 2006.

Their deaths mean the elimination of an important natural pesticide which is worth at least $3.7 billion a year to farmers, said the study by U.S. and South African researchers in the journal Science.

The study says that more than a million bats in North America have died due to fungal diseases in the past five years.

Some projections show that “by 2020, wind turbines will have killed 33,000 to 111,000 annually in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands alone.”

Source:  AFP, www.montrealgazette.com 1 April 2011

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