As the summer season begins, so to does the season of bats in B.C.
One of the more familiar species in buildings and bat boxes is the little brown mytosis. This bat an essential part of the province’s ecology, consuming many insect pests each night.
The little brown mytosis is endangered in Canada due to white-nose syndrome, which is a fungal disease, fatal for bats but not other animals. This fungus has recently been detected in B.C for the first time.
The B.C. Community Bat Program is requesting colony reports and volunteer assistance for this citizen-science initiative that encourages residents to count bats at local roost sites.
Volunteers are needed for bat counts at Fintry, Okanagan Lake south, Sun-Oka Provincial Parks, as well as at the RDCO regional park, Peachland, Kaleden, and Vernon areas.
The annual Bat Count is easy, safe, fun and vital for monitoring bat populations.
“The counts are a wonderful way for people to get outside, learn about bats, and be involved in collecting important scientific information” said Paula Rodriguez de la Vega, coordinator of the Okanagan Community Bat Program.
Volunteers wait outside a known roost site, such as a bat-box, barn, or attic, and count bats as they fly out at twilight.
Results from the Bat Count may help prioritize areas in B.C. for research into treatment options and recovery actions for white-nose syndrome.
More information can be found at bcbats.ca/get-involved/counting-bats.