Are bats back for the summer? Call 1-833-434-BATS (2287)!

Monitoring the health of bats
Posted: 
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
A little brown bat

Spring is finally approaching, which means bats will soon emerge from their hibernacula and return to their summer roosting sites. People in Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) and Newfoundland and Labrador (N.L.) are encouraged to call the toll-free bat hotline — 1-833-434-BATS (2287) — to let researchers know that their bats are returning.

The bat hotline is based out of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC) Atlantic Region, at the Atlantic Veterinary College, P.E.I., and is a collaborative project between the CWHC and the provincial governments in P.E.I. and N.L. The bat hotline has now been in place for just over a year, and calls from citizen scientists have been providing researchers with key information on two federally endangered bat species: the little brown myotis and the northern myotis. The hotline received 178 calls in the last year (February 2018-2019), which enabled the following data to be collected:
• 157 reports of bat sightings
• colony counts from 37 bat roosts
• submission of seven dead bats for necropsy and testing

Researchers are asking for the public’s help with monitoring local bat populations by doing colony counts if homeowners have roosting bats on their property, or by reporting bat sightings and potential roost sites of bats.

The health of bats in Atlantic Canada is threatened by the devastating bat white-nose syndrome (WNS) disease, which continues to spread in the region, significantly impacting endangered bat species. WNS was confirmed in N.L. in 2017, so it is crucial that bat populations in the province be closely monitored. WNS was first detected in P.E.I. in 2013; however, bats are still being found infected with the fungus. To learn more about WNS, please visit http://www.cwhc-rcsf.ca/wns.php.

To report sightings of bats, to consult a professional about human health concerns associated with bats, or to ask bat-related questions, please call 1-833-434-BATS (2287).

Funding for this project is provided by the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Fisheries and Land Resources-Forestry and Wildlife Research Division and the Prince Edward Island Department of Communities, Land, and Environment-Fish and Wildlife Section.

Anna MacDonald
AVC External Relations Officer
Department: 
Atlantic Veterinary College
Phone: 
(902) 566-6786
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