The discovery of a colony of healthy bats is a hopeful sign for Nova Scotia’s at-risk bat population.
Scientists estimate that nearly 300 healthy female little brown bats and their young are thriving at the site, which is the largest known maternity colony in the province.
A press release from the Department of Natural Resources says bats are ecologically and economically important mammals. A bat can eat up to half its weight in insects every night – the equivalent of 1,000 to 3,000 mosquitoes. Bats in eastern North America are at risk after years of population decline due to white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease affecting bats. It has killed about seven million bats in the region.
“This discovery is very significant as the recovery potential of our bats depends on the number of healthy females,” said Minister of Natural Resources Lloyd Hines. “Every bat sighting provides important information to scientists and we encourage people to report observations of bats each time one is seen.”
As part of its commitment to the monitoring and recovery of species at risk, the province is asking people to help track Nova Scotia’s bat population by reporting bat sightings on the website www.batconservation.ca or by calling 1-866-727-3447 toll free.
“We hope people will continue to report bat sightings so we can learn from these new discoveries and one day return to a healthy bat population in Nova Scotia,” Hines said.
Due to the concerns for the bat population, the location of the healthy colony is not being revealed.
Video and photographs of the discovered bat colony are available at: http://novascotia.ca/news/photos/2016/08/04/