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Peachland researchers warn public to be on alert for dead bats

White Nose Syndrome, a deadly bat disease, has been found south of B.C.

  • Feb. 23, 2019 12:00 p.m.

A Peachland bat society is again asking for help in order to protect bats in B.C.

Bats are threatened by disease, and researchers are again the public to be on the lookout for White Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease responsible for the death of millions of bats in eastern North America, that has moved to the West Coast, stated the BC Community Bat Program in a news release.

Confirmed in Washington State just 150 kilometres south of the B.C. border, the presence of the fungus is very worrisome for the health of our bat populations. The disease has near 100 per cent mortality for some species of bats exposed to the fungus, including the familiar Little Brown Bat. Although devastating for bats, WNS does not affect humans, the release said.

“We believe that our bats hibernate in relatively small groups across the province” says Paula Rodriguez de la Vega, Okanagan program coordinator with the BC Community Bat Program. “Detecting WNS in our province will require many eyes on the ground.”

READ MORE: Government seeks help to monitor for bat disease in Okanagan

The typical first sign of this disease is bats flying during the winter, an unusual sighting at a time of year when bats should be hibernating. Another sign of the presence of WNS is the appearance of dead bats outdoors as they succumb to the effects of WNS, the release said.

If you find a dead bat, report it to the CBP 1-855-922-2287 ext. 13 or okanagan@bcbats.ca as soon as possible for further information. Never touch a dead bat with your bare hands. Please note that if you or your pet has been in direct contact with the bat you will need further information regarding the risk of rabies to you and your pet.

To contact the BC Community Bat Program, see www.bcbats.ca, email okanagan@bcbats.ca or call 1-855-922-2287 ext. 13.


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