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

This summer Masset RCMP will give positive tickets to youths

More than a dozen community partners are involved in encouraging good behaviour once school is out

New Seven Sisters replacement confirmed

Mental health facility will have 25 beds, up from 20 in current facility

Terrace hospital’s business plan approved

Health Minister’s announcement opens door to construction phase

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

Concerns over democracy as Senate committee votes to nix oil tanker ban

Critics of the Senate’s recommendation to kill Bill C-48 say it goes against popular will

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Is vegan food a human right? Ontario firefighter battling B.C. blaze argues it is

Adam Knauff says he had to go hungry some days because there was no vegan food

Winds helping in battle against fire threatening northern Alberta town

Nearly 5,000 people have cleared out of High Level and nearby First Nation

B.C. sends 267 firefighters to help battle Alberta wildfires

Out of control fires have forced evacuations in the province

LETTER: Fletcher ‘blurs reality’ on B.C. union public construction

Bridge, highway projects awarded to companies, not unions

Most Read