Learn more about bats

The Okanagan Community Bat Program and the Allan Brooks Nature Centre will offer a free workshop June 2

North Okanagan residents can learn more about bats.

The Okanagan Community Bat Program and the Allan Brooks Nature Centre will offer a free workshop Friday, June 2 for the public on how to help bats.

“The B.C. Bat Count was launched provincially in 2014 with great success. This citizen science program is designed to collect valuable long-term data on bat populations in B.C.,” said Paula Rodriguez de la Vega, Okanagan Community Bat Program co-ordinator.

Half of the 16 bat species in B.C. are of conservation concern. There are many threats facing bats including habitat loss, predation by cats, and active extermination, which is illegal under the B.C. Wildlife Act.

“The most devastating issue in bat conservation today however, is the spread of white nose syndrome,” said Rodriguez de la Vega.

“To monitor the spread of this disease, we have been collecting reports of unusual winter bat activity across the Okanagan and ensuring that dead bats are sent to the animal health centre lab in Abbotsford for disease testing. To-date, no WNS has been reported in the province.”

The workshop starts at 7 p.m. and includes a one-hour slide presentation on bats, followed by a field trip to a local bat roost where participnats will learn how to count bats as they emerge to hunt for insects. Call ABNC at 250-260-2447 to register for the program.

For more information or to download the bat count data forms, visit www.bcbats.ca or call 1-855-9BC-BATS, ext. 13.