Worldwide, bats are under threat of extinction. These small mammals are facing many challenges including loss of feeding and roosting habitats, the effects of pesticide use, as well as a deadly fungus known as White-nose Syndrome (WNS).
WNS is currently spreading west across North America and killing hibernating bats; while there have been no cases found yet in British Columbia, B.C. bats are not exempt from this looming threat.
WNS is predicted to arrive at some point – a case was found just outside of Seattle as recently as March 2016. This is very worrisome for the health of bat populations in British Columbia and the Lower Mainland. Bat conservation groups are making every effort to develop a rapid response to this emerging crisis for which there is currently no known treatment for.
If it is not obvious, bats are in danger!
Bats play a crucial role in our ecosystem as avid eaters of insects such as mosquitoes and other garden bugs – natural pest control, if you will. In fact, in one night bats can consume enough insects to equal their body weight!
Moreover, British Columbia is home to sixteen of the nineteen bat species in Canada. Half of those sixteen species of bats in B.C. are of conservational concern.
So besides what bats can do for us, what can we do for these integral members of our ecosystem?
Metro Vancouver’s 23 Regional Parks provide important feeding and roosting habitats for local bat species. Bats can be found in many of our Regional Parks, including: Aldergrove Regional Park, Colony Farm Regional Park, and Deas Island Regional Park.
Faced with so many threats, bats need all the help we can give them. That is why the Pacific Parklands Foundation is supporting bat conservation with a grant of $1,000 to the South Coast Bat Action Team (SCBAT). The grant will be used to support bat conservation and habitat enhancement in Metro Vancouver Regional Parks.
Looking for ways to help bats, too?
One way you can help bats is by providing safe roosting habitats. Building bat houses is an excellent way to provide these mammals a place to rest, rear their young, and remain safe from predators.
Areas with plenty of insects and that lack natural roosting spaces (like dead and dying trees) are perfect locations for bat houses.
As well, by reporting your observations of any bats going to and from your bat house, you will also be helping the South Coast Bat Conservation Society monitor and protect bat populations in B.C.
Every donation goes towards helping to protect and conserve these important, but often neglected, little flying mammals so that looming threats don’t become bigger bat-tles.