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

Public’s help needed in tracking fatal bat disease

White Nose Syndrome may affect B.C. bat populations

A fatal disease is threatening B.C. bat populations and a local bat program is asking the public to help monitor the spread of the disease.

White Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease responsible for the death of millions of bats in eastern North America, has made its way to the west coast.

The disease was confirmed in Washington State, 150 kilometres south of the B.C. and U.S. border.

The Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT) Bat Program is asking members of the public to report dead bats or any sightings of winter bat activity to the HAT Bat Program coordinator.

RELATED: Fungus could drastically affect B.C. bat populations: researchers

“We believe that our bats hibernate in relatively small groups across the province,” said Mandy Kellner, the provincial coordinator for the BC Community Bat Program. “Detecting White Nose Syndrome in our province will require many eyes on the ground.”

A typical first sign of White Nose Syndrome is bats flying during the winter, an unusual sighting when bats are supposed to be hibernating. Another sign of the disease is the appearance of dead bats outdoors.

According to a news release from the Habitat Acquisition Trust, the disease has near 100 per cent mortality for some species of bats exposed to the fungus, including the Little Brown Myotis bat which can be found across Canada.

RELATED: Public’s help needed in tracking bat activity

Any dead bats reported to the HAT Bat Program will be tested for White Nose Syndrome and might provide early indication of the disease in B.C. Reports of winter bat activity will help focus research, monitoring and protection efforts.

The HAT Bat Program recommends to not touch a dead bat with your bare hands. If a person or pet has been in direct contact with a bat, further information regarding the risk of rabies will be required.

White Nose Syndrome does not pose a threat to humans, but there are currently no treatments for the disease in bats.

Any sightings of dead bats or winter bat activity can be reported to the HAT Bat Program at bat@hat.bc.ca or by calling 250-995-2428.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Fate of accused in Saanich couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Local grocery store steps up to help resident after Saanich jams her stand

Pepper’s Foods will start selling jams previously sold through roadside stand

Brentwood Bay fruit stand plundered on first day of season

Leeanne and Jack Guthrie dismayed to find money and fruit stolen from roadside stand

Victoria woman accesses healing Burn Fund resources 45 years after injury

Stasi Manser was burned when she was five years old and now works as an adult burn survivor advocate

Federal government commits $9.1 million toward UVic Indigenous Law building

Contribution supports Canada’s first Canada’s first Indigenous Law program

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

POLL: Do you think the penalty should be increased for tossing a burning cigarette from a vehicle?

With grasslands and forests around Vancouver Island and across B.C. reaching tinder… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

PHOTOS: North Island home gutted in fire deemed ‘suspicious’

No injuries reported; firefighters prevented blaze from spreading

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Vancouver Island woman assaulted after confronting thief

RCMP warn residents to call for police assistance

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Most Read