‘White nose syndrome’ fear surrounds Carlsbad Caverns bats

A US Park Ranger gives US President Barack Obama (2L), Sasha Obama (C), first lady Michelle Obama (2R) and Malia Obama a tour of Carlsbad Caverns National Park on June 17, 2016 in Carlsbad, New Mexico. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

CARLSBAD, N.M. – The half a million Mexican free-tailed bats that call Carlsbad Caverns National Park home could face the threat of the deadly white nose syndrome.

The Carlsbad Current Argus reports multiple federal agencies have mobilized in recent weeks to combat a microscopic organism that could potentially kill off thousands of the bats that make the national park famous.

White nose syndrome was found in bat populations in states across the country, with the closest discovery to New Mexico in Oklahoma and Texas.

It’s named for a white, fuzzy growth that develops on the nose, ears and wings of infected bats.

Evidence of white nose syndrome was discovered in New Mexico soil samples and samples of bat dung this spring. But further testing this month determined it was not yet in the state.