IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (AP) – Michigan officials are looking for vandals who broke into an abandoned iron mine in the Upper Peninsula where scientists are studying hibernating bats threatened by a deadly illness.
The Department of Natural Resources says the intruders disturbed the bats, stole cameras and no-trespassing signs, built a bonfire and damaged a gate designed to keep people out but allow the bats to enter and exit.
Field supervisor Bill Scullon says the vandalism happened sometime during the winter and compromised the research project.
The old mine near the city of Norway is a small, horizontal shaft that once was winter habitat for more than 20,000 little brown, big brown and northern long-eared bats.
The DNR says their numbers have fallen to just a few thousand because of deaths from white-nose syndrome.