Visit to a New Hampshire Bunker (March 2010)

Ok, bear with me folks. I’m an endangered species biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and this is my first blog – ever. So – deep breath – here goes.

Yesterday was a good day in my WNS-filled life! Through a chance meeting with a New Hampshire state parks biologist, I was told that there is a possible hibernaculum in a World War II bunker. So, yesterday the two of us checked it out, it’s really cool – full of old pipes, wires, bits of machinery and best of all – cold, dark rooms with cracks and fuzzy ceilings, just perfect for bats to hang out on. The doors were sealed to keep unwanted guests out, another plus. We took out our flashlights (I borrowed his, I didn’t want any of my potentially tainted equipment to go in that site) and began our walk. Almost immediately we spotted a big brown and a little brown bat – both healthy. We kept going, some rooms were empty, some had a scattering of bats. The good news – not one had WNS! The mixed news, most were big brown bats (where were the little guys???), we found only one little brown bat and 5 northern long-eared bats. But hey, better than nothing. The really cool news – this site is owned by the state, intruders are kept out, it’s an artificial hibernaculum – all concrete and maybe, just maybe could serve as a research site or refuge for bats. There’s another bunker we hope to explore at the end of the month. If these sites stay clean – or we can keep them clean, maybe we should be looking for more bunkers to manage for bats while we wait for the cure to WNS?