A rapidly spreading fungal disease affecting bats has been discovered in Daniel Boone National Forest.
The U.S. Forest Service says white-nose syndrome was found on hibernating bats in six caves inside the forest. Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources confirmed laboratory findings.
Some 5.7 million to 6.7 million bats have died since the disease was first detected in New York in 2006. It has since spread across the eastern U.S. as far west as Missouri and into Canada.
Forest Biologist Sandra Kilpatrick says 38 bat hibernation caves were surveyed over the winter, with white-nose syndrome found in six. Those six caves are in Jackson, Rockcastle and Pulaski counties.
No human illnesses have been attributed to white-nose syndrome, although people are able to spread the fungus.
The U.S. Forest Service has dropped a proposal for commercial logging in a section of the Daniel Boone National Forest over concerns about the potential impact on a pristine spring and trees hundreds of years old.