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BC Annual Bat Count

bat 320 200Got bats? That's the question that the Sunshine Coast Wildlife Project is asking local residents. The Wildlife Project is sending out the bat signal to find volunteers to participate in the first Annual BC Bat Count and to map bat colonies in the region.

Residents who know of a bat colony occupying a bat house, roof, barn, attic, bridge, or tree on their property or elsewhere in the region are encouraged to contact the Wildlife Project to participate.

"This is the perfect opportunity for community members who love wildlife to help collect vital scientific information," says Wildlife Project Leader Michelle Evelyn. "You don't need any special skills and the activity is fun for all ages!"

The Annual Bat Count is being promoted by the Wildlife Project, as well as other BC Community Bat Projects and the BC Ministry of Environment to collect baseline data on bat populations before the devastating White Nose Syndrome enters the province.

Bats at Risk

Of the sixteen species of bats in B.C., over half are considered at risk in the Province. There are many threats to these amazing creatures of the night including habitat loss, intentional extermination (which is illegal under the B.C. Wildlife Act), wind farm development, and most recently, White Nose Syndrome which is a devastating introduced fungus. Basically, bats need all the help they can get.

"White Nose Syndrome is estimated to have killed more than six million bats since it was first discovered in eastern North America a decade ago," says biologist Dr. Purnima Govindarajulu with the Ministry of Environment. "In March 2016, the disease was detected just east of Seattle. This has greatly increased our urgency to understand bat populations in BC. We need the public's help to census local bat populations. The summer of 2016 may be our last year to obtain population estimates before White Nose Syndrome causes widespread declines in western North America."

"Bat counts are a wonderful way for residents to get involved in collecting important scientific information" says Wildlife Project Leader, Dr. Michelle Evelyn. "No special skills are needed, kids can be involved, and you can relax in a deck chair while counting."

 

"If we don't understand bats in the region, we can't do anything to protect them" says Evelyn. "The information gathered through the Annual Bat Count can be used to help locate and conserve colonies and guide habitat restoration efforts. Without this information, we might not even know if there is a problem."

Bat Counts are Easy and Fun

To conduct a bat count you simply wait outside a known roost site, such as a bat-house, barn, bridge or attic, and count bats as they fly out at twilight. You record the final count along with some basic information on weather conditions. Ideally, one or two counts are done between June 1 and 21 before pups fly, and one or two more counts between July 21 and August 15 when pups are flying with their mothers.

"We know relatively little about bats in this region including basic information on population numbers" says Evelyn. "This information will be extremely valuable, particularly if it is collected annually.  And as an added bonus, everyone who participates in the count will receive a free bat t-shirt!"

To let us know you will be participating in the Bat Count, or for more information, please contact us at 604-989-1007 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  We are very happy to assist if you would like by having one of our team members visit your property, assess the roost, and help with the count.

Read more about the Bat Count and download data forms and instructions here 

The Sunshine Coast Wildlife Project also provides bat houses and bat house building kits, offers educational workshops for children and adults, and can help residents with bats in their home or outbuilding learn how to live with bats or help them exclude them in a way that does not harm the bats.

We encourage anyone who has a bat roost on their property or knows of an existing roost to please contact us.
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