Scientists watched as the little brown bat of the Northeast slowly died away by the thousands because of a disease called white-nose syndrome that was caused by an aggressive fungus. However, despite the fact that this species is hanging on "by a tiny fingernail," several colonies appear to be making a comeback, The Washington Post
Bats in more than a dozen sites in Vermont seem to be resistant to the disease, leading scientists to wonder whether they are enough to save the endangered species.
"It's just a ray of hope that there are bats that have survived over three years of white-nose syndrome, and we want to know how they survived, or if they will continue to survive, and if this is enough bats to . . . recover a population," Scott Darling, a biologist for the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, told the news source.
Pennsylvania is another state that is seeing the little brown bat population decimated by the disease. Greg Turner, wildlife biologist for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, told The Associated Press
that it is safe to say that up to 99 percent of bats that lived in caves and mines have died from the syndrome.
Now, the researchers are using the surviving bats to try to figure out why they seem to be immune to the disease and how to multiply their numbers.