HUNTINGDON, Pa. — Officials at a Pennsylvania cave formation say bats have been observed hibernating there for the first time since a fungus nearly wiped out the state’s bat population.

Lincoln Caverns coordinator Jennifer Brumbaugh says officials spotted four or five bats hibernating in the Huntingdon caverns this winter. Brumbaugh says the number is significant considering zero bats were observed the past few seasons.

She says the fungus known as white nose syndrome has killed off a majority of bats in the state. The fungus causes bats to wake up during hibernation and use their stored energy.

Brumbaugh says bats with the fungus often end up too weak to survive the winter.

She says staff is optimistically keeping an eye on the bats.

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