A brown bat with white nose fungus is shown in October 2008.
A brown bat with white nose fungus is shown in October 2008. (Associated Press file)

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Scientists working to help bats survive the devastating disease known as white nose syndrome say a number of infected bats spent the winter in an abandoned Maine bunker.

In an experiment aimed at finding alternative strategies to save infected bats, 30 hibernating little brown bats were taken from caves in Vermont and New York and transported to the bunker on the Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge in Limestone, Maine.

Vermont scientists say that of the 30 bats, nine survived, a higher survival rate than expected by bats in the wild. The bats were transported back to Vermont and New York and released in the wild last week.

Scientists say the so-called Noah's Ark strategy might serve as a last resort to save some bat species from local extinction.