• Dave Hobson
  • Martin Davis
  • Cori Lausen
  • Martin Davis
  • Martin Davis
  • Bob Rutherford
  • Cori Lausen
  • Martin Davis
  • Cori Lausen
  • Bob Rutherford

Bats and Caves

The mission of the WCS Canada BatCaver Program is to identify and study hibernation sites for bats in Western Canada, using the resources of Cavers and the public to expand our knowledge.  This information is critical to conserving bat populations from threats to their survival such as the disease White Nose Syndrome, which is spreading across North America and will reach Western Canada in a few years.  

Bats play a major role in keeping insects including mosquitos under control, their only food source in this region.  Knowledge is our best defense and we may be able to protect bats against the disease with further research.

Facts

Bats are the primary consumer of night-time insects, including mosquitoes. Have you ever wondered why bats sometimes swoop close to your head?  They may be picking off the biting bugs that you attract!

White Nose Syndrome, a deadly fungal disease of bats, has killed millions of bats in Canada and the US, but has not yet reached Alberta or British Columbia.




Bats are the longest-lived, slowest reproducing mammals for their size.  A little brown myotis who was at least 38 years old was observed in Cadomin Cave in Alberta!  AAAAAAAA    

Protect Bats

Bats are very sensitive to disturbance while hibernating. If you see hibernating bats, leave the area immediately.

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Clean Gear

Decontaminating your gear between caving trips can prevent the spread of WNS.



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Find Bats

Install a bat monitoring device in a cave or mine when you go caving.



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Updates

NEW HIBERNACULA SPECIES RECORDS

February 2019

Recent BatCaver genetic results have confirmed the presence of Little Brown Myotis in two new locations in Alberta. These discoveries add to the growing database of critical habitat identified by our program, which will ultimately help direct future conservation efforts of this federally endangered species. One of the sites, a cave the South-Western portion of the province, was first visited by our team in October 2018. During this time we deployed ultrasonic data loggers that record bat activity, paired with temperature and humidity loggers to gather information on the type of cave climate the bats are using at this site. These measurements will contribute to our understanding of patterns of bat activity at that site throughout the winter, and provide critical information about what habitat features are most frequently associated with winter bat use.



NEW EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS

May 2018

The BatCaver program has released a new video demonstrating one easy method of decontaminating caving equipment after exiting a cave or mine. Our BC coordinator walks the viewer step-by-step through one of his common decon procedures: immersing his caving equipment in 60 degree water for at least 20 minutes. The video is intended to help increase the likelihood that more people will follow recommended procedure by reducing the effort required to follow the prescribed protocols that reduce the risks of inadvertently transporting White-Nose Syndrome spores from one region to another.

White-Nose Syndrome has continued spreading further westward and was recently discovered infecting bats in Manitoba. As this highly transmissible and fatal disease continues to spread westward, adherence to proper decontamination protocol is increasingly important, especially among anyone who may enter multiple caves or mines in a wide geographic range.

Additional decontamination procedures can be found under the decontamination protocol link on the BatCaver Resources page.


Video

White Nose Syndrome (WNS) is a fungal disease that has caused up to 100% bat mortality in cave hibernacula in Eastern Canada and United States. The longer the West can remain WNS-free, the more time there is to develop critical conservation strategies for vulnerable bat species.

WNS AND WESTERN CANADA

DECONTAMINATION PROTOCOLS FOR VISITING BAT HIBERNACULA

Watch this video in French.

© 2018-2019 Wildlife Conservation Society