Researchers probe mystery of dying bats

July 21, 2008 5:35:30 AM PDT
Researchers are trying to understand why so many bats in the northeastern states seem to starve as they sleep for the winter.

Pennsylvania Game Commission wildlife biologist Cal Butchkoski says first researchers need to figure out what's causing the problem. Then it's a matter of figuring out how to solve it.

The problem is known as "white nose." It's named for the sugary smudge of fungus around the nose of some of the emaciated bats. It was noticed two winters ago in a cluster of caves west of Albany, N.Y. By last year, it spread to dozens of caves within a roughly 150-mile radius.

Butchkoski says he expects white nose to spread to Pennsylvania this winter.