Bat conservation

Half the bat species in BC are considered species at risk (vulnerable or threatened of becoming extirpated). With their important role in controlling nocturnal insect populations and cycling nutrients from wetlands to forests, bats are a critical part of our ecosystems.

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a devastating fungus that is killing millions of little brown bats in eastern Canada and US. It attacks bats during hibernation and is easily spread through the cave or mine. It is estimated that approximately 6 million bats have died. Experts predict that the common little brown bat will be extirpated from much of eastern North America by 2026. Luckily, this disease is not yet in BC. Download this bulletin about WNS (PDF file).

Wind farms have been killing bats, particularly migratory species like hoary and silver-haired bats. The localized drop in air pressure from the whirling blades causes barotrauma in the bats where their lungs literally burst when the outside pressure drops.

Habitat loss is also putting pressure on bat populations. Bats require summer roosting habitat (such as large trees, caves, or cliffs), winter hibernation sites, and a good source of insects (like wetlands), all of which are impacted by human activities. Other factors such as human persecution and extermination, house cat predators, and pesticides also impact their populations.

Facing these threats, bats can use all the help they can get. Check out our “Get Involved” page to find out what you can do.

Some bats in buildings, like these Townsend’s big-eared bats, are rare species.Some bats in buildings, like these Townsend’s big-eared bats, are rare species.