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In the July 2008 file photo, a cluster of little brown bats hangs on the rock walls of level 12 of the Soudan Underground Mine State Park. The bats discolor the area around the rocks that they use. A fungus that spreads a disease that’s almost always fatal to bats has been found in the mine, officials announced Aug. 9, 2013. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

Signs of devastating bat disease found in two Minnesota caves

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DULUTH, Minn. - A fungus that spreads a disease that’s nearly always fatal to bats has been found in two of Minnesota’s largest bat caves — the Soudan Underground Mine near Lake Vermilion in the northeast and a cave at Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park in the southeast.

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The two Minnesota sites are considered among the state’s largest bat hibernacula — or wintering sites — and thousands of bats live in both.

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