Spring is finally approaching, which means bats will soon emerge from hibernation and return to their summer roosting sites.
Island residents are encouraged to call the toll-free bat hotline at 1-833-434-BATS (2287) to let researchers know when the bats are returning.
The bat hotline, based out of the Canadian Wildlife Health Co-operative (CWHC) Atlantic region at the Atlantic Veterinary College, is a collaborative project between the CWHC and the provincial governments in P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador.
The 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 data to be collected, including 157 reports of bat sightings, colony counts from 37 bat roosts and submission of seven dead bats for necropsy and testing.
Researchers are asking for the public’s help with monitoring local bat populations. They can do colony counts if they have roosting bats on their property or they can report bat sightings and potential roost sites of bats.
The health of bats in Atlantic Canada is threatened by the devastating white-nose syndrome (WNS) disease, which continues to spread in the region, significantly impacting endangered bat species. The disease was first detected in P.E.I. in 2013, and bats continue to be found infected with the fungus.
To learn more about WNS, visit cwhc-rcsf.ca/wns.php.
Make the call
To report sightings of bats, to consult a professional about human health concerns associated with bats or to ask bat-related questions, call 1-833-434-BATS (2287).