ALBANY, N.Y. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing the status of the eastern small-footed and northern long-eared bats to see if they warrant federal protection.
The status review announced Tuesday was launched after the Center for Biological Diversity, a conservation group, filed a petition asking for Endangered Species Act designation for the bats and their habitat.
The wildlife agency says the bats have declined because of habitat destruction, disturbance of hibernation and breeding roosts, and white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has killed more than a million bats since its discovery in 2006.
The eastern small-footed bat is found from eastern Canada and New England south to Alabama and Georgia and west to Oklahoma. Northern long-eared bats live across the eastern and north-central United States and Canada.