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

Northwest mobile unit to help those at heart of mental health, addiction crisis

Province, Northern Health unveils new unit in Terrace to bridge gaps in services

Sk’aadgaa Naay slips in Fraser Institute elementary school rankings

The school stayed at a rating of 5, but slipped to 694th rank in 2017/18

B.C. First Nations’ intake of essential nutrients to drop by 31 per cent: study

Professors project the nutrient decrease by 2050 if climate change mitigation continues as is

B.C. minister says rural internet is ‘railroad of the 21st century’

Jinny Sims talks details about the $50-million provincial and possible $750-million federal funds

Arts funding for Haida Gwaii and Rupert societies

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice announced $320,643 in funding from the BC Arts Council Grant

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

Most Read