To combat mortality rates of little brown bats, biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state agencies have investigated the potential for using decommissioned military bunkers on national wildlife refuges as artificial hibernacula for imperiled bats affected by white-nose syndrome. The disease is responsible for 75 to 90 percent declines in the species population since 2007.
In December 2012, 30 hibernating little brown bats were collected from two hibernacula in New York and Vermont and placed in a bunker for hibernation at Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge in northern Maine. In March 2013, biologists found that, although there was mortality among the bats, abandoned military bunkers can create suitable habitat and may provide a useful strategy to conserve bats affected by white-nose syndrome.
Close up of little brown bat with white-nose fungus, found in New York in 2008.
Photo courtesy of Microbe World
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