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Officials: NH Winter Bat Survey Shows Bad Hibernacula
By Joe Gullo
CONCORD, N.H. - A New Hampshire winter bat survey found a bad hibernacula, a place where bats spend the winter.
A press release says biologists found a total of 28 bats, with two formerly common species missing. Those species missing were the little brown bats and northern long-eared bats.
Bats have had to combat fungal infections like White-nose syndrome. Researchers say white-nose syndrome infects bats during the winter, while they are hibernating. Overall, over 90% of little brown and northern long-eared bats in the Northeast have been killed by this disease.
“I can’t believe we’ve lost so many bats, so quickly," Researcher Dr. Jacques Veilleux said. "I had some small hope that we might see a bit of a recovery this year; it’s sad that we have experienced a near complete loss of our wintering bats, and really sad to think I likely won’t be around to witness a possible recovery of these populations.”
That's because bats generally only have one pup a year, it could take many decades for the population to rebound.
Researchers say just because they haven't found the little brown or northern long-eared bats in hibernacula, it doesn't mean those bats are gone from the state. Many of the state's bats fly to hibernacula in Vermont and New York.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is looking for residents to fill out a bat survey. For more information and to see the survey visit the department's website.