'Bunker Project' Attempts To Save Bats From White Nose Syndrome

Apr 9, 2013

It sounds like something out of a biologist's Mission Impossible: last fall, 15 hibernating bats were taken from a cave in Dorset, and transported in the back of a van to an abandoned military bunker in far northern Maine. They were left to hibernate there for the winter...watched over by motion detector cameras. The mission: to see if the bats could be saved from white nose syndrome. They called it: The Bunker Project.

Scott Darling is a Wildlife Biologist with the Department of Fish and Wildlife.  He's been active tracking White Nose Syndrome in our region and trying to find ways to prevent it.

Darling says a third of the bats were found alive. And while he says that's not a ‘sufficient' survival rate, it has given researchers new information.

"It did tell us that in fact bats can survive that process. And that we need to look at ways to either change the way we collect the bats or perhaps even the issue is these bats need to be treated, because each of those bats was in fact infected with White Nose Syndrome when we pulled them from the cave in Dorset," Darling said. 

Darling says Vermont has lost as much as 90 percent of certain bat species populations because of White Nose Syndrome.