BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided against designating any caves, mines or forests as critical habitat for the northern long-eared bat.

The northern long-eared bat was designated threatened last year because of white-nose syndrome, which kills cave-dwelling bats. But the service announced Monday that it's not prudent to designate critical habitat to help the species recover.

The service's Midwest regional director, Tom Melius, says that designating winter hibernation sites as critical habitat would increase the risk of vandalism and disturbances at those caves and mines. And he says the forests the bats use in summer don't need special protection.

Since the discovery of white-nose syndrome a decade ago in New York state, the disease has spread to 32 states and five provinces, killing more than 5.7 million bats.