Citizen scientists throughout B.C. are being asked to help increase our knowledge of bats.
“Got Bats?” community projects support conservation of bats by providing educational programs, conducting inventories of bats in buildings, working with landowners who have bats in buildings and establishing annual counts, where volunteers count bats leaving a roost site on their property for four nights over the spring and summer in order to monitor populations.
“There is surprisingly little known about local bat species and their numbers,” said Environment Minister Mary Polak.
“I encourage anyone with an interest in bats to contact their local project and to get involved, especially by volunteering for this year’s bat count. Your efforts will help us better understand and protect them in B.C.”
B.C. has the highest bat diversity in Canada with 16 of the 19 species found here.
Half the bat species in B.C. are listed to be of conservation concern either provincially or federally.
More recently, the emergence of White Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease that kills bats during their winter hibernation period, has resulted in the death of more than six million bats across 25 states and five Canadian provinces.
The disease is predicted to arrive in B.C. within the next decade, and monitoring bat populations is essential for detecting sudden declines associated with White Nose Syndrome caused deaths.
The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation is providing program funding, and regional partners have secured additional funding and in-kind contributions from a number of sources.
The community projects are being modelled after the successful Kootenay Community Bat Project and South Coast Bat Action Team.
To learn more about local “Got Bats?” projects, register for the bat count or get assistance to deal with bat issues, call 1-855-9BC-BATS or visit: www.bcbats.ca.