- Associated Press - Friday, April 6, 2018

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Researchers say fewer bats are hibernating in New Hampshire in the wake of fungal outbreak.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department says biologists found about 26 bats in hibernation this past winter. Biologist Scott Reynolds tells New Hampshire Public Radio the population is down from thousands in 2009.

Scientists say white nose syndrome has decimated bat populations in the Northeast. It was first discovered in 2006 in New York. The fungus damages skin, muscles and blood vessels.

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Reynolds says little brown bats were hit the hardest by white nose syndrome. One little brown bat was found in New Hampshire winter surveys this year. Reynolds says it will take “close to a century” for the species to recover because the animals only have one pup each year.

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