In Rwanda, they discovered an endangered species of bats that had not been seen for 40 years – environmentalists believed that it had long since disappeared.

Information about the population of these animals has not been received for 40 years, and in 2021 the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classified them as endangered.

The new study has shown the first-ever recording of this species’ echolocation, a technique animals use to locate objects using reflected sound.

Hill’s horseshoe bat has “exaggerated” and “comic” facial features – huge ears and a horseshoe-shaped muzzle “wrapped with loose patches of skin. It is insectivorous, as are other species of horseshoe bat, although its specific diet and feeding behavior is unclear, according to experts.

The mysterious species found in Rwanda most likely live in rainforest caves or abandoned mining tunnels.

According to John Flanders, director of Bat Conservation International (BCI), the discovery of the previously thought extinct species was “fantastic”.

The way Hilla was discovered could help gather new information about other rare species, the researchers say.