Reporting dead bats could save the species

BC Community Bat Program appeals for help to stop spread of deadly fungal disease

The BC Community Bat Program, in collaboration with the Province of B.C., is asking the public to report any dead bats in an effort to save the species.

The bat program is still trying to better understand White-Nose Syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease harmless to humans but responsible for the deaths of millions of insect-eating bats in North America. It was first detected in Washington State in March 2016.

BC Community Bat Program coordinators believe that information gained from dead bats and reports of live bats can help them determine the extent of the disease, and determine priorities for conservation efforts.

Fortunately, no WNS cases have been reported in B.C. to date.

Currently there are no treatments for White Nose Syndrome. 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 BC Community Bat Program and the general public can help.

Funded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, the Province of B.C. and the Habitat Stewardship Program, the BC Community Bat Program works with the government and others on public outreach activities, public reports of roosting bats in buildings, and our citizen-science bat monitoring program.

With spring around the corner, bats will slowly start returning to their summering grounds. The BC Community Bat Program is asking for assistance as the chances of seeing live or dead bats increases.

“We are asking the public to report dead bats or any sightings of daytime bat activity to the Community Bat Project as soon as possible,” said program coordinator, Mandy Kellner.

To report any dead bats or daytime sightings, call 1-855-922-2287, extension 24, or email info@bcbats.ca.

The committee reminds everyone to never touch a bat with your bare hands, as they can carry rabies, a deadly disease. If your pet has ever come in contact with a bat, immediately contact your physician and/or local public health authority or consult with your private veterinarian.

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