The fungus that causes white nose syndrome in bats has been detected in bat guano in the Grand Forks area.
Since the arrival of the fungus on the west coast of the United States in 2016, the Province has been monitoring for its arrival in B.C. The Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship is working with multiple partners to implement enhanced surveillance for the disease, as well as reduce threats to bat habitat. Since bats eat a wide variety of insects and pests, they are essential for keeping B.C.’s ecosystems in balance.
The public is asked to contact the BC Community Bat Program or the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship (see website below) with any information on the location of winter bat roosting sites, unusual behaviour, such as flying during the day, and observations of dead bats.
First discovered in New York state in 2006, white nose syndrome has spread to 38 states and eight provinces. The associated mortality is responsible for three Canadian bat species being listed as “endangered” under the federal Species at Risk Act.
The fungus is primarily spread by bat-to-bat contact. The fungus doesn’t affect humans, but people may spread fungus spores through the movement of contaminated clothing and gear, or through accidental translocation of bats.
Because there is currently no proven prevention or treatment for white nose syndrome, the best approach for bat conservation is the reduction of other threats to support healthy, resilient bat populations as they face this disease. Scientists are working together to better understand bat behaviour and habitat use in the winter when bats are most at risk from the fungus.
Anyone who discovers a sick or dead bat should never pick it up with their bare hands. The BC Community Bat Program has information about reporting a dead bat on its website, as well as tips to help protect British Columbia’s bat populations.
For more information about bats, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/plants-animals-ecosystems/wildlife/wildlife-conservation/bats
Learn more about decontamination protocols on the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative website: http://www.cwhc-rcsf.ca/bat_health_resources.php
BC Community Bat Program: https://bcbats.ca/