The discovery of a disease that has killed about one million bats across the U.S. led the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to close three state caves and recommend private caves to do the same.
White fungus appears on bats that suffer from the disease, called white nose syndrome. It causes them to fly more often than usual, leading to lower body fat, wasting, and eventually death.
It is not a threat to humans.
The closure of caves in Maquoketa, Burlington and Jones County could force the closure of the three state parks that support them.
The caves are generally the parks' largest tourist attractions.
State zoologist Daryl Howell says about 2,000 bats live in Iowa caves between October and March.