Given the massive and sudden die-off of bats throughout the northeast, it makes sense for states to add the most vulnerable species to their endangered species list. Vermont is taking the first steps to do so, and it would great if other states would follow suit.

According to an article in the Burlington Free Press earlier this week, that state’s Endangered Species Committee made the recommendation to add both the Little Brown Bat and the Northern Long-eared Bat to the state list of endangered species. The decision is now up to Vermont’s Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz.

University of Vermont biologists say the state’s little brown bat population has dropped by 75% since white nose syndrome, a fungus that has been killing off the bats, first appeared five years ago. In the most recent survey, no northern long-eared bats were found in the state.

Simply listing the species isn’t the answer, of course, but it could have some beneficial effects. For one, it could draw public attention to the problem that might help promote volunteer efforts to protect and restore bat populations. Also, it would protect existing habitats against any disruptive development.