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April 12, 2014

N.H. bat population continues to decline

(Continued)

A biologist with Vermont’s Department of Fish and Wildlife said last month that he believes the worst of the epidemic in his state has passed, and that at least one affected species is starting to recover. Scott Darling said thousands of little brown bats continue to pass the winter in a cave in Dorset, Vt., though it’s unclear whether they have survived exposure to white nose or whether they are uninfected bats that could still face exposure.

Jeremy Coleman, the white nose coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, says biologists in New York have seen similar changes, but questions remain about the long-term recovery of the species.

Beyond their insect-eating value, Preston said she is concerned about the bats’ fate simply because “bats are so cool.”

“This little mammal, with these incredibly versatile and strong and acrobatic wings — they live for 20 years. They’re not little flying mice, they’re totally different,” she said. “They’re amazing animals, so it’s very sad.”

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