Hibernating little brown bats (Photo credit Al Hicks)

Public help needed to monitor for bat disease

Wanted: reports of dead bats and of bats flying during winter.

BC bats are being threatened by disease, and researchers are again 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 our bat populations. The disease has near 100% mortality for some species of bats exposed to the fungus, including the familiar Little Brown Bat. Although devastating for bats, WNS does not affect humans.

The Kootenay Community Bat Project (KCBP) 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 Leigh Anne Isaac, KCBP Coordinating Biologist. “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 KCBP toll-free phone number, website, or email (see 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 Isaac. Reports of winter bat activity will help focus research, monitoring and protection efforts.

If you find a dead bat, report it to KCBP 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.

Currently, there are no treatments for WNS. However, mitigating other threats to bat populations and preserving and restoring bat habitat may provide bat populations with the resilience to rebound. This is where the KCBP and the general public can help.

Funded by the Columbia Basin Trust, the Regional District of the East and Central Kootenays, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Forest Enhancement Society of BC, Province of BC, and the Habitat Stewardship Program, the KCBP works with the government and others on public outreach activities, public reports of roosting bats in buildings, and our citizen-science bat monitoring program.

To contact KCBP, see www.bcbats.ca, email kootenay@bcbats.ca or call 1-855-922-2287 ext. 14.


Email typos to
editor@crestonvalleyadvance.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Annual Columbia Basin Culture tour coming up Aug 10 and 11

There are locations across the region participating

Three students receive $3,300 to pursue educational dreams

Makayli Wilkinson from Crawford Bay received the Neil Muth Memorial Scholarship.

Andrew Bellerby out as RDCK’s regional fire chief

Bellerby held the job since January 2016

Poetry Jam returning to Creston

Local writers and poets are invited to celebrate a night of literature… Continue reading

Stetski talks up NDP election platform

NDP candidate for Kootenay-Columbia riding outlines election ‘commitments’ to Canadian voters

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman sentenced to life in prison

Experts say he will likely wind up at the federal government’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Thunderstorms forecast across B.C.

Environment Canada has issued a thunderstorm watch for B.C.’s central Interior

Most Read