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.