The Little Brown Myotis occurs across British Columbia but is threatened by white-nose syndrome, a bat disease. (Photo by B. Paterson)

Provincial bat count to monitor for impacts of white-nose syndrome

Almost half of British Columbia’s bat species are now at risk

A provincewide bat count will monitor the number of Little Brown Myotis bats.

While the bat species is one of the most familiar in buildings and bat boxes, the Little Brown Myotis is endangered in Canada. In British Columbia, almost half of the province’s 15 bat species are at risk.

The bat is an essential part of the province’s ecology, consuming many insects each night.

The B.C. Annual Bat Count program is asking for colony reports and volunteer assistance in counting bats at local root sites in June.

READ ALSO: Bats begin to hang out as spring approaches in the Okanagan

READ ALSO: More bats nothing to worry about, say Okanagan experts

“The counts are a wonderful way for people to get outside, respect social distancing guidelines, and be involved in collecting important scientific information,” said biologist Ella Braden, coordinator of the Okanagan Community Bat Program.

Volunteers wait outside a known roost site, such as a bat-box, barn, or attic, and count bats as they fly out at twilight. Ideally, one to two counts are done between June 1 and 21, before pups are born, and one to two more between July 11 and Aug. 5, when pups are flying.

In 2020, the bat count collected baseline data on bat populations at 362 sites across the province and hopes to monitor these sites and more for 2021. The count data helps bat biologists understand bat distribution and normal variation in colony sizes before our bats face impacts from a devastating bat disease called White-nose Syndrome.

White-nose Syndrome is an introduced fungal disease, fatal for bats but doesn’t infect other animals or humans. While it has not been identified in British Columbia, the disease is spreading in Washington State, less than 150 kilometres from the border with British Columbia.

“We know relatively little about bats in B.C., including basic information on population numbers,” Braden said. “This information is more valuable than ever, particularly if it is collected annually. If people want to get involved but don’t have a roost site on their property, we will try to match them with a roost site nearby.”

The Annual Bat Counts are funded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C., the Habitat Stewardship Program and the South Okanagan Conservation Foundation, and with support of the B.C. Conservation Foundation and the provincial government.

The B.C. Community Bat Program provides information for people dealing with bat issues on their property or who have questions about how to attract bats. To find out more about bat counts or white-nose syndrome, to report a dead bat, or to get assistance dealing with bat issues, visit www.bcbats.ca, call 1-855-9BC-BATS, ext. 13 or email okanaganbats@gmail.com.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

EnvironmentWildlife

Just Posted

The Northern Sea Wolf is set to arrive in Bella Coola June 19 and BCVT remains cautiously optimistic for a more “normal” 2021 season (Michael Wigle photo)
Summer ferry service to Bella Coola to start June 19

“We are optimistic for a good tourist season.”

A Category 3 fire ban will go into effect across the entire Cariboo Fire Centre beginning noon on Monday, June 21. (Pixaby photo)
Category 3 fire ban extends across entire Cariboo Fire Centre June 21

Campfires are still permitted, but no larger than half a metre high by half a metre wide

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation planning ground analysis of land near former residential school

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Most Read