NEW HIBERNACULUM FOUND
On a February 2017 trip to the boreal forest of northern Alberta, BatCaver volunteers have confirmed the use of a cave by Little Brown Myotis bats for hibernation. In this cave, 213 Myotis lucifugus were counted, but it is suspected that more exist. The cave itself is unusual in that it was formed by a light sulphuric acid dissolving the limestone, making the environment fairly inhospitable for humans. Bats were swabbed for samples of DNA and to monitor for signs of white-nose syndrome. Ultrasonic data loggers that record bat activity were deployed, along with temperature and humidity loggers which gather information on the type of cave climate the bats are using at this site. This is the third largest hibernaculum found in Alberta to date.
In our partnering with the general public, biologists and the caving community, other smaller newly discovered hibernation sites have been brought to our attention. These include sites in British Columbia in the regions of these communities: near Victoria; Port Alberni; Greenwood; Dawson Creek; and Hudsons Hope. Many other old mine sites have been found to contain large numbers of hibernating bats, primarily in southern BC.
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NEW EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS
The BatCaver program has produced brochures aimed at people visiting caves which explain the risks of inadvertently transporting white-nose syndrome spores from one region to another. It also contains conservation messaging, decontamination protocols for WNS and contacts for further information.
These have been sent to tourist caves in western Canada as well as caving organizations. In addition, we have produced signage regarding bat conservation messaging, intended for posting at entrances to bat hibernation caves. Other signage has been produced in consultation with BC Parks, for posting at trailheads to provincial cave parks which has similar conservation messaging. We are also workng with other bat groups across Canada on bat translocation signage. This is regarding the issues around bats being accidentally transported by campers and their vehicles when moving around North America. The concern is regarding moving bats infected with white-nose syndrome to uninfected regions.