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Publications

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

B.C. Has Only a Small Window to Help Bats

  

The recent discovery in northwest Washington State of bats infected with white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease that has devastated bat populations in eastern North America, is a wake-up call. When WNS finds its way to BC, it is likely to bring with it major economic impacts both agricultural and forestry.  Bats are voracious consumers of insects and if their numbers decline like they have in the east, there is big trouble ahead.

Bats play vital roles in pest control. At least one species of B.C. bat, for example, feeds on spruce budworm caterpillars and moths. That’s an important asset for the forestry industry. Others feed on insects that can affect crops, financially benefiting farmers through reduced pesticide use.  And we all benefit from bats feeding on mosquitoes and other biting insects. The economic fallout from massive bat decline could be felt by everyone, and affect all aspects of the ecosystem from fish to trees.

In BC, the disease can only be detected when bats are leaving hibernation sites, meaning the key period for tracking the potential spread of the disease is late winter and early spring, which, in turn, means we need to be ramping up early detection efforts now. Unfortunately, the provincial government does not currently have internal expertise and has not allocated secured funding to address the bat conservation crisis that is about to hit this province. 

We urge the provincial government to quickly adopt the BC Bat Action Plan, developed by a team of volunteers called the BC Bat Action Team, which outlines high priority actions we need to take to help bats survive and recover. These actions include:

  • Increased funding for bat research and conservation in the province
  • Commitment to monitoring and researching bat populations
  • Public outreach and communication to raise awareness of WNS, bats, and conservation

Find out more: read the BC Bat Action Plan

Get involved:
Share Dr. Lausen's Op-Ed to help raise awareness 


 

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Latest News

WCS Canada Scientists Suggest Environmental Assessment Changes to Address Concerns About Process and Outcomes
In June, the Government of Canada announced the launch of a comprehensive review of federal environmental assessment processes associated with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012). As part of this process, WCS Canada presented at two panels and submitted two formal submissions. Our submissions express particular concerns about environmental assessment in the context of welcoming new development and we focus on the role of evidence-based decision making for environmental assessments. 
Caribou Story Map: Interactive Web Tool Shows Mining Claim Footprints and Caribou Ranges in Ontario’s Far North
Ontario’s Far North is becoming the fastest growing area of mineral exploration in the province. The resulting threats to caribou include cumulative habitat disturbance and loss of access to critical areas for calving or feeding. Our recently launched Caribou Story Map helps provide a “big picture” understanding of the extent and potential impacts of this type of development on caribou populations in the region, and facilitates access of hard-to-reach data to inform and promote more meaningful public engagement on exploration permit applications.  The information available in the map will be critical to decision-makers in the management of this species at risk, particularly in areas identified as having overlap of conservation and mining interests.
North America's Wetlands Need Planning and Protection
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has a mandate to halt wetland loss in Ontario, and released the first draft of a Wetland Conservation Strategy that is intended to fulfill this important commitment. However, the draft suffers from a number of critical weaknesses, and will not deliver on protecting wetlands in Ontario. WCS Canada Ontario Northern Boreal scientists recommend that “no net loss” should be considered only as a component within a broader framework that focuses on proactive wetland evaluations and watershed-level planning; explicitly includes wetland protection; and considers climate change.