As temperatures cool and bats across the province migrate south or roost here for the winter, a website and telephone hotline to track bat sightings will go into hibernation Thursday, Oct. 31.
More than a thousand sightings were reported since the website and hotline were set up in early August.
“Public support and response to this crisis in our bat population has been excellent,” said Natural Resources Minister Zach Churchill. “A summary of reported sightings and a detailed map will be available at www.batconservation.ca on Friday, Nov. 1.”
The website and phone line were established by the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute and the province after a rapid decline in bats because of white-nose syndrome.
White-nose syndrome is an infection that causes bats to wake up frequently during winter hibernation, leaving them vulnerable to starvation and hypothermia. After 95 per cent of the bats at five mainland hibernation sites became infected and died last winter, the province listed three bat species as endangered in Nova Scotia.
“We were pleased and amazed by Nova Scotians’ commitment to bat conservation,” said institute biologist Brad Toms. “And it’s not all bad news, either. The data tells us that, so far, bats on Cape Breton Island have not been affected by the disease.”
Between November and May, sightings of day-flying bats should be reported to the nearest Natural Resources regional office. Contact information for regional offices is available at www.novascotia.ca/natr .
The bat conservation website and hotline will return next spring.