Looking for surviving bats
Devastating spread of white nose syndrome
Those watching a Nova Scotia bat colony that escaped the devastating spread of white nose syndrome are on the lookout for other survivors.
The Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute and the provincial Department of Natural Resources are keeping an eye on about 350 healthy female bats and their young, the largest known maternity colony in Nova Scotia, and the bat watchers would like to hear about others.
“We need people to report observations of bats each time one is seen, especially repeat sightings in an area and potential roost sites,” Lori Phinney of MTRI said Friday in a release. “Reporting your bat sightings provides significant information on the bats remaining in the province. These healthy individuals are the basis for potential recovery in the future.”
Reports can be made to the Bat Reporting Hotline at 1-866-727-3447 or online at www.batconservation.ca.
White nose syndrome is a fungus that has killed most of the bats in eastern North America and is spreading westward.
“The fungus rouses the bats from hibernation and depletes their fat stores, causing them to die,” Phinney said.
“So far, Nova Scotians have contributed 2,850 sightings of bats in four years, including significant sightings of maternal colonies, overwintering sites and important roost sites.
“Bats are not only special because they are only the true flying mammals, but they are an excellent source of insect control. They can eat up to 1,000 insects in an hour, acting as a control for some of the most damaging agricultural pests. They are also one of the world’s longest-lived mammals for its size, with life spans up to 40 years.”