White nose syndrome (WNS) is a deadly fungus that grows on the noses and bodies of bats. It first appeared in the Eastern United States in 2006. Since then, over six million bats have died from WNS. Little Brown and Northern bats both received emergency listing as species at risk under Canada’s Species at Risk Act because of the impact of WNS.
WNS was detected in Washington State in 2016 and is likely to spread to BC, putting bats here at risk. We now know that the strain of WNS found in Washington is the same one that has spread across Eastern North America.
Bats are most vulnerable in late winter and early spring, as they near the end of hibernation and emerge from their hibernacula.
BC Parks and WNS
BC Parks is committed to preventing the spread of WNS, and is sharing information via its website, social media and signs in parks with popular caving sites. BC Parks will be installing a biocleaning station at Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park to minimize the risk of visitors spreading WNS on their shoes.
What Can You Do?
The public is being asked to report sick or dead bats to the BC Community Bat Program and, when possible, submit them to the program to be checked for WNS.
Please help by reporting dead bats or bats that appear to be sick during winter and early spring to the BC Community Bat Program at 1 855 922-2287 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do not attempt to capture sick or injured bats and do not touch a dead bat with your bare hands due to a risk of rabies. If you do find a dead bat, collect it in a plastic bag using leather gloves and label the bag with the date, location, your name and contact information. Put the bag in a freezer and contact the BC Community Bat Program for further instructions.
- BC Government Press Release
- Wildlife Health Program
- BC Community Bat Program
- Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative