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Got Bats initiative works to save furry night fliers

The Townsend's Big-Eared Bat is one of 16 species living in the Okanagan.
Image Credit: Wikipedia
May 28, 2015 - 2:33 PM

PENTICTON - There is no reason for residents of the Okanagan to "go batty" over problems they might have with the furry, nocturnal flying creatures this summer.

The BC Community Bat Project is getting ready for a busy summer educating and instructing Okanagan residents on how to handle bat issues.

The “Got Bats” initiative is a collection of community bat projects established to raise awareness about bats, which has a toll free phone line and a website which provides information about managing bats in buildings, encounters with bats and attracting bats.

Okanagan regional coordinator Margaret Holm said the Okanagan is a hot spot for bats, noting last year the bat project network had numerous calls from people who had established bat colonies in their homes and summer cabins, while there were others who wanted to know how to exclude bats.

Bats are a species under fire these days. Of the 16 species in the province, over half are in decline and could end up on the endangered species list. The Little Brown Myotis, a species which often takes up residence in buildings, is the most recent species to make the federally endangered list due to the devastation caused to the bat by White Nose Syndrome, a fungus that has so far killed approximately six million bats in North America. The disease is not believed to be in Western Canada yet, so bat projects are taking the initiative to promote bat conservation before it makes its way here.

The bat project is funded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and federal Habitat Stewardship Program, and has the support of the BC Conservation Foundation.

“We are encouraging people to report their bat colonies to the BC Bats program and help by doing bat counts. This can provide important information on whether local bat populations are going up or down, “ Holm said.

It’s as simple as pulling up a lawn chair and counting the bats exiting a building just before dark. The bat program has count sheets and instructions.

If you have bats on your property and would like to start a bat count or just want more information about bats, visit www.bcbats.ca or call 1-855-922-2287.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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