MTRI is a non-profit co-operative with a mandate to promote sustainable use of natural resources and biodiversity conservation in the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve and beyond through research, education, and the operation of a field station.
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Recently, MTRI researchers conducted a visual survey of a larger maternity colony in southwest Nova Scotia. Last year when this site was surveyed, only 58 bats were documented. This year however, 157 bats were counted which is a spark of optimism towards the species populations in Nova Scotia. Along with the Little brown bat, the Northern myotis and Tri-colored bat are also listed as endangered due to white-nose syndrome.
On May 15th, out bat conservation website will be open again for you to report any bat sightings you have. Please visit www.batconservation.ca to report any bats you encounter this year. We encourage you to report any and all sightings, even if you believe it to be a repeat sighting of a bat you already reported.
Bats have become increasingly at risk in North America due to White-nose syndrome (WNS) since it was first observed in New York in 2006. Since then it has spread through bat-to-bat contact, arriving in Nova Scotia in 2011. WNS is caused by Pseudogymnascus destructans, a fungus which invades the body of bats while they overwinter in caves. The fungal infection causes the bats to awaken from hibernation and in a futile search of food resulting in death by starvation or hypothermia.
In 2013, MTRI and the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (NSDNR) collaborated to create www.batconservation.ca. The website consists of a web portal for reporting bats and also directs users to the rare species reporting hotline 1-866-727-3447 where they can also submit reports of bats.
MTRI launched a new project in 2017 to research and educate people about endangered bats in Nova Scotia. After collecting five years of public bat reports and over 3000 sightings, MTRI has learned that some bats are persisting in the wake of WNS. MTRI plans to reach out to homeowners and landowners who have reported significant sightings and will work with them to monitor bats and reduce threats and disturbanceto bats on their properties. This project will collect data on the status of bats in the province since the introduction of WNS, and will be used to make informed decisions on the potential future recovery of this species.
Photo Credit: Hugh Broders
One of the maternity colonies MTRI staff monitor. Click here to read more. Photo Credit: Jason Headley
The website received over 12,989 page views by 2,922 unique visitors.
Over 900 individuals provided over 900 records to the database.
Maps of the results were produced and a short report is available on the bat conservation website.
Any reports that mentioned large concentrations of bats, nuisance bats or injured bats were forwarded to Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources.
The website received over 13,000 page views by 2,536 unique visitors.
Over 900 individuals provided over 1100 records to the database.
Location of bat sightings submitted to the bat conservation website and rare species reporting hotline in 2013.
Ongoing project since 2013
Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources
Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute
Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Network
Hugh Borders, University of Waterloo