Parks Canada’s Bat Savers

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Parks Canada staff members, or batmen and batwomen, are super heroes in the fight to save bats! Across North America, bat populations are declining because of threats like White Nose Syndrome. This horrible fungus can quickly spread through an entire colony of hibernating bats. Get inspired to save bats with these tales from Parks Canada’s bat savers, then start your own Bring Back the Wild campaign and become a bat saver too.

Bat Calls: Yoho National Park, British Columbia

Bats make sounds at a frequency that’s too high for humans to hear. The night would sound very different if we could hear bats because they are really noisy! Scientists use something called a bat detector to listen to their calls. A bat detector collects high frequency sounds and translates them so the human ear can hear them. Parks Canada uses bat detectors in Yoho National Park to learn about and help protect bats. Listen to bat calls here:

Bat Library: La Mauricie National Park, Quebec

In Quebec, Parks Canada’s bat savers are recording echolocation calls with a bat detector and making an acoustic inventory. Every August the bat calls are recorded using an ultrasonic detector, called the AnaBat. La Mauricie National Park has eight bat species in the park, which researchers listen in on, identifying who’s who based on their calls. By doing a survey of echolocation year after year, Parks Canada is developing a library of bat calls that they can use to see how bat populations are doing over time.

La Mauricie Parks Canada Bat Research
Bat researchers © Parks Canada

Bat Tunnels: Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site, Nova Scotia

Bats don’t just live in caves; they also make their home in dark spaces like tunnels. The tunnels located at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site make a perfect home for bats to hibernate throughout the winter. The low temperature and humid environment is ideal for bats to keep their body in hibernation mode. This allows them to slow down their metabolism so they don’t need to go out in the cold to feed, while keeping them warm enough so they don’t freeze. Parks Canada monitors these tunnels to track the size of the colony and make sure they are healthy.

Fortress of Louisbourg bat cave
Fortress of Louisbourg tunnel © Parks Canada

Bat Cams: Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba

Not everyone loves bats, which is really sad because they are amazing animals! That’s why Parks Canada is helping people that visit Riding Mountain National Park get to know their bat neighbours. Parks Canada will be installing special infrared cameras on bat house at the Visitor Centre to introduce guests to the Little Brown Myotis Bats, Big Brown Bats and Hoary Bats. The cameras will let visitors watch as bats roost during the day and head out at night in search of insects to eat.

Researcher using a bat detector. © Anne Forshner
Researcher using a bat detector © Anne Forshner

Bat Volunteers: Jasper National Park, Alberta

Jasper National Park also has bat cameras, they use these cameras as well as a volunteer program to help get people behind bat saving. Volunteers are taught about the park’s bat population and the threats they face, including White Nose Syndrome. Then the volunteers set out to assist with monitoring bats throughout Jasper National Park. Thanks to this volunteer program, more visitors to the park are learning about bats and getting involved in protecting them.

long legged bat, Jasper National Park, Parks Canada
Bats on the live cam at Jasper National Park © Parks Canada

Bat Sanctuary: Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland

Three kinds of bats live in Gros Morne National Park, Little Brown Bats, Northern Long-eared Bats and Hoary Bats. One survey recorded bats flying over 23,000 times in one summer! Gros Morne has become a safe haven for bats, thanks in part to it being located on the island of Newfoundland. Most bats don’t leave the island, which to date, has protected them from White Nose Syndrome. Parks Canada is working hard to protect this important bat sanctuary by monitoring bat colonies and ensuring bats have the habitat they need to thrive on their bat island!

Parks Canada bat research ©  Ian Harte
Parks Canada bat research © Ian Harte

How can you be a bat saver? Start a Bring Back the Wild campaign to protect bats, and share bat facts with friends and family!

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