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Endangered bats find sanctuary in Vermont power plant

"Nobody is scared of bats at GMP," said Kristin Carlson. "We all love bats."
By Brooks Hays   |   Aug. 20, 2014 at 10:20 AM   |   Comments

MIDDLEBURY, Vt., Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Some 200 little brown bats have made their home in Green Mountain Power's hydro power facility in Middlebury, Vermont. Officials with the state's Fish & Wildlife Department alerted the company to the bats' presence after a local resident called in to say he'd seen bats flying out of the building every night.

"I think it's fun that we have bats in our hydro," Green Mountain Power spokeswoman, Kristin Carlson, told the Rutland Herald.

Little brown bats are a species of mouse-eared bats used be one of the most common in the United States, but a fungal infection known as white nose syndrome has decimated the species. The disease has shrunk populations in the Northeast by some 90 percent and left the species endangered in many states, including Vermont.

State biologist Alyssa Bennett inspected the bats and their new home to make sure the situation was safe for both the bats and the workers at the facility. She says central Vermont is a haven for the declining species.

"They feed on aquatic insects, and they tend to like older buildings," she said. "They're few and far between now, so we're doing everything we can to keep an eye on them."

And Carlson says her company is glad to help out.

"Anything we can do to help this recovery we're happy to do," she told the Herald. "We're just letting them be. Nobody is scared of bats at GMP. We all love bats."

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