Two volunteers counting bats with a handheld “clicker,” which allows for easy tallying outside roost sites. (J. Craig photo)

Got bats?

The Skeena Community Bat Program is looking for volunteers to help with their annual count

Residents are being asked to venture into old abandoned barns, web-strewn attics, and other local roost sites to help the Community Bat Projects of BC (BCCBP) conduct their annual census.

“Bat counts are a wonderful way for residents to get involved in collecting important scientific information,” said biologist Ashleigh Ballerina, coordinator of the Skeena Community Bat Program. “No special skills are needed, you can be any age, and you can relax in a deck chair while counting.”

The count collects baseline data on bat populations across the province, which has increased in urgency since the White Nose Syndrome fungal disease decimated eastern North American numbers.

“White Nose Syndrome is estimated to have killed more than seven million bats since it was first discovered in eastern North America a decade ago,” said Mandy Kellner, provincial coordinator of BCCBP.

“In March 2016, the disease was detected just east of Seattle, and has now spread within Washington State. This has greatly increased our urgency to understand bat populations in BC. We need the public’s help to census local bat populations – we never known when it is our last year to obtain population estimates before White Nose Syndrome causes widespread declines in western North America.”

READ MORE: Vacationers urged to check for stowaway bats that could carry deadly disease

About half of 16 species of bat in BC are considered vulnerable or threatened, according to BCCBP. Historically bats have gotten a bad societal rap, from their association to blood-sucking vampires to their incorrect classification as a species of rodent. In actuality, these creatures are extremely helpful in cutting down flying insect populations, namely mosquitoes, and can eat more than their body weight in one night.

“We know relatively little about bats in the Skeena, including basic information on population numbers,” said Ballevona. “This information will be extremely valuable, particularly if it is collected annually. If people want to get involved but don’t have a roost site on their property, we will try to match them with a roost site nearby.”

Volunteers can help with the count by waiting outside a known roost site, like a bat-house, barn, bridge or attic, and count the bats that fly out at twilight. Then, they record the final number along with weather conditions and submit. The counts are done once or twice between June 1-21 before the pups are born, and then again between July 11 and August 5 when the pups are flying.

To find out more about bat counts, or to get assistance dealing with bat issues, visit www.bcbats.ca or call 1-855-9BC-BATS.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Townsend’s big-eared bat is one of the species people may encounter during the bat watch. (Sharon Kellner photo)

Two volunteers counting bats with a handheld “clicker,” which allows for easy tallying outside roost sites. (J. Craig photo)

Just Posted

Kitsumkalum Walk for Health raises $17,500 for new hospital microscope

The 5 km walk is a new take on a 10-year old fundraiser for Mills Memorial

PHOTO GALLERY: Malicous Monster Truck Tour

The Malicious Monster Truck Tour sold out to crowds of 2,500 people… Continue reading

CMTN First Nations Fine Arts program offers new advanced diploma

The 10-month program will focus on enhancing jewellery, sculpture and marketing skills

Terrace spawns new salmon art festival

This week’s featured artist: Casey Braam

Back in business: former Sears franchisees go it alone

Boota and Diljit Uppal’s new store opens in same location

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Evacuation alert issued due to Dog Creek Trail Wildfire

An evacuation alert has been issued by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako… Continue reading

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Canadian Tire delivers toys to ease kids’ street play pain in B.C. neighbourhood

It’s like Christmas for 11 kids who are supposed to be confined to their yards by strata bylaw

City orders largest Kinder Morgan protest camp to leave

Residents of Camp Cloud near the Trans Mountain work site have 72 hours to leave

Cougar shot near B.C. marina

Police were called to complaints of a cougar climbing through boats and sheds at the Nanaimo Yacht Club

Most Read