Habitat Acquisition Trust is seeking volunteers for its annual bat count, beginning June 1. (Photo submitted)

Habitat Acquisition Trust seeks volunteers for annual bat count

Residents of all ages encouraged to get involved

Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT) is seeking volunteers for its annual bat count this month that will shed light on population numbers on Vancouver Island.

As part of the count, which begins on June 1, residents of all ages are encouraged to wait outside a known roost site, such as a bat-house, barn, bridge or attic and count bats as they fly out at twilight.

Residents then record the final number along with basic information on weather conditions. The count will be used to collect baseline data on bat populations on Vancouver Island, and before the White Nose Syndrome fungal disease, which is estimated to have killed more than seven million bats since it was discovered a decade ago, affects bats in the province.

“In March 2016, the disease was detected just east of Seattle, and has now spread within Washington State. This has greatly increased our urgency to understand bat populations in B.C.,” HAT conservation specialist Paige Erickson-McGee said.

“We know relatively little about bats on Vancouver Island, including basic information on population numbers. This information will be extremely valuable, particularly if it is collected annually … No special skills are needed, you can be any age, and you can relax in a deck chair while counting.”

To get involved in the count call the HAT office at 250-995-2428 or visit hat.bc.ca.


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kendra.wong@goldstreamgazette.com

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