The “Got Bats?” initiative promotes conservation of bats on private land, provides a resource to landowners dealing with bat issues, and engages citizen scientists to collect data on bat populations.
Half of the 16 species of bats in BC are of conservation concern, including species like the Townsend’s big-eared bat, Fringed bat, Northern Myotis and Little Brown Myotis. There are many threats facing bats including habitat loss and fragmentation, intentional and unintentional colony disruption, mortality due to wind turbines, and the potential arrival of White-nose Syndrome (WNS). WNS is a devastating fungus that has nearly wiped out several formerly common bat species in eastern North America in just a few years. Although WNS has not yet reached BC, it is predicted to arrive within the next ten years.
The goal of the “Got Bats?” network is to establish community bat projects around BC. Currently, the following regions are participating: Greater Victoria, South Coast, Sunshine Coast, Okanagan, Kootenays, Lillooet, Peace, Skeena and Saltspring Island. This network works with existing organizations including Habitat Acquisition Trust, Salt Spring Island Conservancy, and Sunshine Coast Wildlife Project. These regional projects have been modelled after the successful Kootenay Community Bat Project and South Coast Bat Action Team.
The success of identifying roost sites for species at risk and the enthusiasm of residents to report their bats and conserve their roost sites or consider sensitive methods for removing bats from their homes continues to drive the success of these projects. Please contact your local bat project if you have bats in your buildings, would like to volunteer your time to build or monitor bat-houses, or are interested in booking an educational program.