Summer is almost here and that means bats are returning to the Lower Mainland or coming out of hibernation.
With the tiny winged mammals’ arrival, South Surrey and White Rock, residents are asked to report any bats they spot, in order to help biologists understand the species better and watch for the spread of disease.
June 1 marks the start of the BC Annual Bat Count, run by The BC Community Bat Program. Residents are asked to report bat colonies they see as well as any bat boxes they install.
Volunteers are also needed to assist in the count outside local roost sites such as barns, bat-boxes or attics, where they wait for bats to fly out and count them as they set off.
Little Brown Myotis, an endangered bat species, is a bat commonly found throughout the province in the spring-time. They are fundamental to the environment, like all bats, eating many insect pests.
The species is now endangered in the country. In fact, almost half of the 15 bat-types found in Canada are at-risk of becoming endangered.
“The counts are a wonderful way for people to get outside, learn about bats, and be involved in collecting important scientific information” Danielle Dagenais, co-ordinator of the Greater Vancouver-Squamish Community Bat Program, said in a news release May 25.
White-nose syndrome is a fatal fungal-disease that affects only bats. The disease has not come to B.C. yet but has been reported in parts of Washington State.
Since it has been found so close to the Canada-U.S. border, the disease needs to be studied more in Canada to find treatment options, the release notes.
To find out more about bat counts or white-nose syndrome, to report a dead bat, or more visit www.bcbats.ca or call 1-855-922-2287 (BC-BATS).
– Sobia Moman