Conservation of BC Bats and Facts About Coronavirus

Feb 6, 2020

  • Human health is intertwined with wildlife and environmental health. 
  • Bat populations are declining and bat conservation is important. 
  • Consider all the facts before becoming afraid.  Stop the persecution of bats. 

To get your facts straight, please follow these links:  

Research on bats, bat ecology, bat immunology, and bat virology is ongoing and important. For example, medicine is being developed based on bat saliva, to help stroke and heart disease victims.  

Photo: Townsend’s Big-eared Bat. Sunshine Coast Wildlife Project.

Bat Houses - Best Management Practices

In response to concerns about the conservation value of bat boxes in BC, and how to best use boxes to benefit bats, the BC Community Bat Program has created a new guidance document. Best Management Practices for Bat Boxes in BC summarizes current thinking on how best to deploy artificial roost structures to help bats, as well as information on construction, installation, and maintenance and monitoring.

Bat Box BMPS (Best Management Practices for Bat Boxes)

WANTED: Reports of dead bats

February 5, 2019. WANTED: Reports of dead bats and of bats flying during winter

BC bats are threatened by disease, and researchers are asking for the public to help. White Nose Syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease responsible for the death of millions of bats in eastern North America, has moved to the west coast.

Confirmed in Washington State just 150 km south of the BC-US border, the presence of the fungus is very worrisome for the health of bat populations in British Columbia. The disease has near 100% mortality for some species of bats exposed to the fungus, including the familiar Little Brown Myotis. Although devastating for bats, WNS does not affect humans.

The BC Community Bat Program in collaboration with the BC government is requesting the public’s help in monitoring the spread of this disease. “We believe that our bats hibernate in relatively small groups across the province” says Mandy Kellner. “Detecting WNS in our province will require many eyes on the ground”. The typical first sign of this disease is bats flying during the winter, an unusual sighting at a time of year when bats should be hibernating. Another sign of the presence of WNS is the appearance of dead bats outdoors as they succumb to the effects of WNS.

“We are encouraging the public to report dead bats or any sightings of winter bat activity to the Community Bat Project (CBP) toll-free phone number, website, or email below. Bat carcasses will be submitted for testing for White Nose Syndrome and would provide the earliest indication of the presence of the disease in BC” says Kellner. Reports of winter bat activity will help focus research, monitoring and protection efforts.

 

If you find a dead bat, report it to the CBP (1-855-922-2287 ext 24 or info@bcbats.ca) as soon as possible for further information. Never touch a dead bat with your bare hands. Please note that if you or your pet has been in direct contact with the bat you will need further information regarding the risk of rabies to you and your pet. 

 

Nov 1, 2018: Surveillance for WNS in BC continues

 

November 1 marks the start of the winter White-nose Syndrome Surveillance period. The Bc Community Bat Program, in collaboration with the Province of BC, is once again asking the public to report any dead bats in an effort to determine the distribution of White-Nose Syndrome (WNS). WNS is a fungal disease harmless to humans but responsible for the deaths of millions of insect-eating bats in North America. WNS was first detected in Washington State in March 2016. 

To monitor the spread of this disease, Community Bat Program coordinators have been collecting reports of unusual winter bat activity across southern BC and ensuring that dead bats are sent to the Canadian Wildlife Health Centre lab for disease testing. Information gained from dead bats and reports of live bats can help determine the extent of the disease, and determine priorities for conservation efforts. 

Fortunately, no WNS has been reported in the province to-date.