A map shows where White-nose syndrome has been detected. (Contributed graphic)

Fungus could ‘drastically’ affect B.C. bat populations: researchers

Volunteers sought to help monitor spread of white-nose syndrome

Researchers concerned with the impact of White-nose syndrome on bats south of the border are once again asking Semiahmoo Peninsula residents to help them monitor spread of the disease on the west coast.

READ MORE: Bat-count volunteers sought for White Rock area

The disease – confirmed in Washington State, just 150km south of the B.C.-U.S. border – has close to 100 per cent mortality for some species of bats, a news release issued Thursday states.

Presence of the fungus “is very worrisome for the health of bat populations in British Columbia.”

“This could be a critical year for bats in B.C. as White-nose syndrome is present across the border,” regional bat co-ordinator Danielle Dagenais states in a Feb. 28 email to Peace Arch News.

“White Rock is just over the border and could… see bats flying north from Washington. WNS could drastically affect bat populations in the White Rock area.”

Dagenais said it is “very important” that people not disregard the sight of a dead bat from now until May 31, “as their collection is crucial for tracking and monitoring the fungus and bat populations.”

The typical first sign of the disease is bats flying during the winter – a time they are usually hibernating.

Another sign is the appearance of dead bats outdoors as they succumb to the effects of White-nose syndrome.

Residents who spot a dead bat or see bats flying in the area are asked to report the sightings as soon as possible to the B.C. Community Bat Program (CBP) at 1-855-922-2287 or vancouver@bcbats.ca

For dead bats, researchers ask that residents pick them up with gloves, wrap the carcass in paper towel, place it in a Ziploc bag and freeze it to preserve it until it can be shipped for testing.

The release notes that while White-nose syndrome poses no threat to humans, anyone who has direct contact with a bat, or whose pet comes into contact with one, should seek more information about the risk of rabies.

Detecting WNS in B.C. “will require many eyes on the ground,” CBP official Mandy Kellner states in the release.

The B.C. Community Bat program is funded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC, the provincial government and the Habitat Stewardship Program.

For more information, visit bcbats.ca, email vancouver@bcbats.c or call 1-855-922-2287, ext. 11.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Yuma myotis is one of the species people may encounter. (J. Burgar photo)

A hibernating little brown bat with signs of White-nose syndrome. (Alan Hicks photo)

Just Posted

RCMP investigating break-and-enter attempts in Fernie

Police are investigating four reports of attempted break-and-enters at the condos and… Continue reading

Fernie food share program thrives under new partnership

Four times the amount of food is being saved from landfill under… Continue reading

Paramedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

Fernie skier braves extremes to find ‘soul line’

Caleb Brown named male champion at backcountry ski competition

Avalanche warning issued for Lizard Range, Flathead near Fernie

Warmer weather to increase avalanche risk: Avalanche Canada

‘Full worm super moon’ to illuminate B.C. skies on first day of spring

Spring has sprung, a moon named in honour of thawing soil marks final super moon until 2020

B.C. lottery winner being sued by Surrey co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Fraser Health under fire again for taxiing homeless man from Langley to Hope

Patient sent to Hope shelter because a spot in the man’s home community couldn’t be located

Dead sea lion discovered on Hornby Island shoreline

Reports indicate animal was shot in the head

Celina Caesar-Chavannes quits Liberal caucus, sits as independent MP

The Whitby, Ont., MP has been a vocal supporter of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott

Woman punched on the sidelines of B.C. soccer game

Both involved were watching the U21 game in West Vancouver from the sidelines when things got heated

Catch-up immunization aims to stamp out B.C. measles resurgence

Vaccination records to be checked at B.C. schools next fall

Paramedic staff shortage at critical level: B.C. union

A number of units were out of service due to lack of staffing in Lower Mainland, union says

B.C. dairy farmers say federal budget not enough to cut losses from USMCA

Concerns raised over vague details, funding access and impacts on growth

Most Read