A disease that has killed millions of bats in eastern North America may arrive in British Columbia and Sunshine Coast residents are being asked to report sightings of bats in winter.
White nose syndrome is a fungal disease that kills bats during their winter hibernation period.
Bats provide tremendous benefits because they are such effective consumers of pest insects and their loss could lead to significant ecological and economic impacts, according to a ministry of environment press release.
White nose syndrome is named for the fuzzy white fungal growth on the nose, ears and wings of hibernating bats. It is thought to spread from bat-to-bat contact although human spread by contaminated clothing cannot be ruled out.
By informing biologists of sightings, the public can help prevent the fungus from affecting bats in the Sunshine Coast area.
Reports of winter bat roosting sites, unusual behaviour such as flying during the day, and observation of dead or dying bats can be made through calling 1-250-387-9500.