On the lookout for winter bats

Staff writer
February 28, 2014 01:00 AM

Students at Kinnikinnick Elementary School build bat houses as part of the Wildlife Project's bat stewardship efforts.

If you have seen bats during the winter, the Sunshine Coast Wildlife Project wants to hear from you.

Project leader, Dr. Michelle Evelyn, along with other provincial bat experts, is racing against time to understand how bats spend their winters on the West Coast, in order to better protect them against white nose syndrome, a deadly disease expected to arrive in B.C. within the next five to 10 years.

This horrific fungal disease attacks the exposed skin of hibernating bats, causing them to rouse too frequently and die from starvation due to excessive activity. In the seven years since the disease was discovered in New York, it has moved steadily across North America, killing more than six million bats in 22 states and five provinces.

The Wildlife Project wishes to discover where Sunshine Coast bats spend their winters so these sites can be monitored and protected. Project leaders are interested in any observations of bats flying in winter, possible winter roosts or dead or dying bats. To report sightings, please email coastwildlife@gmail.com.

Sunshine Coast bat conservation efforts are generously supported by Public Conservation Assis-tance Fund, Gencon Foun-dation, Canadian Wildlife Foundation, Fish and Wild-life Compensation Program and Environment Canada's EcoAction Community Funding Program.


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