Georgia bats rebound after fumigation for white-nose syndrome

Researchers have been experimenting with ways to combat the deadly disease

Biologists in Georgia are working to understand how to combat white-nose syndrome, which is taking a toll on bats in the state. The disease, which can wipe out entire colonies of bats, has been found in 15 north Georgia counties, and the fungus that causes it has been found in at least six others.

Since the disease arrived in the state, it has decimated populations of the endangered northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis). Researchers have been investigating whether treating areas where the bats hibernate with volatile organic compounds could help control the fungus.

At one site, known as the Black Diamond Tunnel, over 5,000 tricolored bats once hibernated there, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Three years later, the colony had shrunk to 152. After fumigation, their numbers have been on the rise. This year, researchers counted 720 bats, “the most they’ve observed since their treatments began,” the Journal-Constitution reports.

Read more from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Header Image: An endangered northern long-eared bat shows signs of white-nose syndrome. Credit: Steven Thomas/USFWS