About the Community Bat Programs of BC
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.
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.
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 email@example.com) 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.