P.E.I. bat populations faring better than expected, says wildlife study
White-nose syndrome has killed roughly six million bats in Canada and the U.S.
A new study at the Prince Edward Island National Park could indicate some good news for the Island's bat population.
In recent years, Atlantic Canada's bat population has been decimated by the fungal disease white-nose syndrome, but a study conducted by the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative says bat activity was up on the Island last summer.
Bat researcher Jordi Segers and his team conducted bat monitoring and inventory in the park using acoustic detectors to record the echolocation of mainly little brown myotis and northern myotis bats — both species are federally listed as endangered.
"We recorded a high magnitude of these bats, and that's pretty exciting," said Segers.
White-nose syndrome has killed roughly six million bats in Canada and the U.S. The disease interrupts hibernation and forces bats to quickly deplete the fat reserves they rely on through the winter, leaving them vulnerable to fatal dehydration or starvation.
"The bat species are native species and they are also a species at risk, so to get these numbers and know they are using the national park, was very, very exciting," said Rick Hawkins, an ecologist with P.E.I. National Park
Research at the park will continue through this summer. The group asks anyone who finds dead bats on their property report it to the provincial department of fish and wildlife.
- An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the bat population on P.E.I. is up. In fact, bat activity is up.Feb 19, 2016 3:33 PM AT