Small Isolated Colonies of Bats Surviving in Northeastern US
Researchers studying White-nose syndrome are optimistic that they have been finding small isolated colonies of surviving, healthy bats across the northeastern US, the region hit hardest by the disease.
While it’s still to early to say that these bats represent a nucleus of re-population for the species, the positive news that some bats are surviving is something to get excited over.
In Vermont, there are 15 colonies in the western part of the state where, despite reduced numbers of little brown bats compared to before white-nose appeared, they are surviving and seem to be healthy.
Meanwhile in New York, a maternity colony of little brown bats at Fort Drum has been surviving and reproducing over multiple years, despite being exposed to WNS.
Whether it’s something unique about the mines and caves they hibernate in, the bats themselves, or some other unknown reason that allows these colonies to survive when all their neighbors aren’t so lucky, is still unknown.
A meeting has been planned for early 2012 in Pennsylvania to allow scientists to discuss the best ways of unlocking the secret of the survivors.
Scientists hopeful in fight to stop bat die-off [Wall Street Journal via Dean Wiseman]