Keep­ing track of bats

Lo­cal wildlife as­so­ci­a­tion ask­ing pub­lic to help with project

Cape Breton Post - - News Northside/Cape Breton - BY SHARON MONT­GOMERY-DUPE smont­gomery@cb­post.com

The Port Morien Wildlife As­so­ci­a­tion is plac­ing bat boxes around Cape Bre­ton Is­land and is in need of the pub­lic’s help.

“It would be good if we could mon­i­tor them all daily but it’s not pos­si­ble,” said Stan Peach, as­so­ci­a­tion trea­surer. “So we are get­ting am­bas­sadors and they are watch­ing them for us and we can still go out and mon­i­tor them too.”

The as­so­ci­a­tion re­ceived about $17,000 from the Nova Sco­tia Con­ser­va­tion Habi­tat Fund for two pro­jects — a loon nest­ing plat­form project that is on­go­ing and the build­ing and in­stalling of bat houses across Cape Bre­ton.

Peach said the two-year project will col­lect data on the lo­cal bat pop­u­la­tion.

“We’ve got­ten 14 bat boxes made so far and have 10 out al­ready,” he said. “The boxes will hold hun­dreds of bats.

“We’ve got

some sin­gle-storey bat houses and built some du­plexes with a dou­ble chamber.”

Peach said the bat pop­u­la­tion is at risk due to the white nose syn­drome fun­gus, a dis­ease that leaves a white ring around a bat’s nose, ears or wings. Since its dis­cov­ery in 2009, the fun­gus has killed five mil­lion bats in Canada and the U.S.

The as­so­ci­a­tion is ask­ing the pub­lic to re­port bat sight­ings so mem­bers can de­ter­mine the health of the pop­u­la­tion in Cape Bre­ton.

The wildlife as­so­ci­a­tion has re­ceived bat re­ports from Fram­boise and MacAskills Brook and they have placed bat boxes in Homeville, South Head, Broughton and Lake Ainslie.

“We want (boxes) across the is­land even­tu­ally.”

Peach said when bat ac­tiv­ity has been de­ter­mined they will set up a game cam­era to mon­i­tor the bats from a dis­tance. The cam­eras are mo­tion ac­ti­vated.

“Th­ese cam­eras are good from 60-70 feet away so you’re not dis­turb­ing a nest by climb­ing up and look­ing in.”

As well Peach said it’s hoped a bat box will be placed at the Donkin Mine site.

“We know when they were start­ing things over at the mine a few years ago they came across a big bat colony so we’d love to get a bat box in there too.”

Years ago Peach said they had a project with the pre­vi­ous mine own­ers where they put fish in the wa­ter com­ing from the mine to de­ter­mine if it was toxic.

“The fish lived in it which showed the wa­ter was fine. We’d like to sit down with (the mine own­ers) to see if we can do the fish project again.”

Any­one see­ing bat ac­tiv­ity is asked to con­tact Stan Peach at 902-578-2753 or Robert Boutilier at 902-577-6117.

The as­so­ci­a­tion re­minds the pub­lic to avoid di­rect con­tact with bats.

SHARON MONT­GOMERY-DUPE/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Jar­rett Byrne, from left, a sum­mer worker with the Port Morien Wildlife As­so­ci­a­tion, pre­pares a bat houses to be mounted with help from John Kennedy, as­so­ci­a­tion sec­re­tary, and Stan Peach, trea­surer. The wildlife as­so­ci­a­tion re­ceived a grant for the project to help mon­i­tor the health of the Cape Bre­ton bat pop­u­la­tion.

SHARON MONT­GOMERY-DUPE/CAPE BRE­TON POST

This is a game cam­era that will be set up to take pho­tos in ar­eas where bat ac­tiv­ity has been de­ter­mined.

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