updated 5/10/2010 9:57:24 AM ET 2010-05-10T13:57:24

Indiana wildlife officials are keeping most caves on state property closed to the public to help protect bats from contracting a disease that's killed them in Eastern states.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources announced Monday that it was extending indefinitely the closures that started a year ago. The only exception to the state closure is Twin Caves at Spring Mill State Park near Mitchell in which all visitors are transported by boat.

Federal officials have also closed caves in the Hoosier National Forest, while commercial caves such as Squire Boone Caverns, Marengo Cave and Blue Springs Caverns remain open.

The disease, called white-nosed syndrome, hasn't yet been found in Indiana or surrounding states but has killed about 1 million bats since it was discovered in 2006.

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