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A plan for the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat)

Author(s): Loeb, S.C., T.J. Rodhouse, L.E. Ellison, C.L. Lausen, J.D. Reichard, K.M. Irvine, T.E. Ingersoll, J.T.H. Coleman, W.E. Thogmartin, J.R. Sauer, C.M. Francis, M.L. Bayless, T.R. Stanley, and D.H. Johnson
Year: 2015

A Fork in the Road, Future Development in Ontario's Far North

Author(s): Cheryl Chetkiewicz and Matt Carlson
Journal: Wildlife Conservation Society Canada Collaborative Report
Year: 2013

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Latest Feature

Photo: Susan Morse

North American Caribou Workshop

May 16 marks the launch of the 16th Annual North American Caribou Workshop and for the first time in two decades this year the workshop is in Ontario. Taking place in Thunder Bay, the workshop is the foremost conference of its kind, addressing caribou biology, research and management.

This year’s workshop theme is Connections: exploring the link between people, disciplines and ecosystems to further caribou conservation and management. More than 250 people from science, academia, indigenous communities, NGOs, government, and practitioners – drawn by their common interest in caribou – will assemble to share their knowledge, ideas, stories, and most recent discoveries.

Highlights of the workshop include:

  • An opening plenary session, featuring distinguished scientists whose wealth of expertise spans the continent moderated by Paul Kennedy, host of CBC Radio’s Ideas. Each of four speakers will draw on their experiences to decipher the science, tell a story that conveys a key lesson, and contribute to a lively panel discussion led by Mr. Kennedy. This will be followed by a special session from presenters providing indigenous perspectives on conservation, co-management, and connections to communities.

  • An evening public event where speakers will offer a glimpse into the life, ecology and challenges of caribou, with a particular focus on boreal caribou of northwestern Ontario. A hands-on event for families and youth will feature the opportunity to view and touch specimens and samples of caribou and their predators, view videos on caribou ecology and conservation, and participate in educational and fun activities related to ecology and conservation.

  • Over 90 presentations and posters by researchers and practitioners from government, universities, non-governmental organizations, and industry.

To understand caribou demands diverse points of view. Caribou are able to thrive in a wide variety of demanding environments, including arctic seashores, polar deserts, mountaintops, boreal forests, continental taiga, and windswept tundra. However, across North America caribou are challenged by human activities that have altered these northern landscapes. This conference will provide a discussion forum to confront these challenges and fill gaps in knowledge and understanding of this fascinating animal.

WCS Canada has been one of the event organizers this year, with our president, Justina Ray -- a recognized authority on caribou -- serving on the organizing committee to help shape the program and serve as fiscal agent with critical support from Assistant Director Gillian Woolmer.

Get updates on the workshop as it happens. Check out the official website and twitter page.


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Latest News

Bat White-Nose Syndrome Found in the West
On March 31, the United States Geological Survey and Fish and Wildlife Service announced that White Nose Syndrome (WNS) had been confirmed in a little brown bat in Washington State – the first instance of the deadly disease in western North America. WCS Canada is hard at work preparing western Canada for the arrival of this disease that has already decimated bat populations in the east. Here are five easy things you can do to help our bat populations in the wake of this new discovery.
New Bat Habitat Discovered in Western Alberta

BatCaver, an ongoing WCS Canada program, has recently discovered two new bat hibernacula - places where bats hibernate during winter months - in the Alberta foothills. Bats hibernate underground for a large portion of each year, and these newly discovered locations help shed light on the mystery of where many species of bats go each winter. To address these critical knowledge gaps, the BatCaver program has deployed over 50 roostloggers - equipment used to record bat ultrasound - underground across western Canada. WCS Canada research into bats in western Canada aims to improve our understanding about the behaviour and ecology of 14 Canadian bat species prepare for the arrival of a deadly fungal disease, White Nose Syndrome.

Habitat Restoration and Protecting Caribou Populations
Habitat loss is – by far – the most common reason species become at risk of extinction. There are many ways to combat this threat, including restoring habitat that has been removed or otherwise damaged. A discussion paper on this topic by WCS Canada’s President, Justina Ray, was commissioned by Environment Canada as federal recovery efforts grapple with the challenge of habitat restoration. A key conclusion of the paper is that effective restoration for boreal caribou will require site-based restoration activities to be linked with range-scale land use planning and monitoring. Restoring ecosystems is typically a highly expensive process that requires substantially more effort than prevention of ecological damage in the first place.