BUICK, B.C. — Blueberry River First Nations is developing a bat stewardship program to improve roosting for bats in the Pink Mountain area.
The nation made the announcement on social media, saying they would be installing bat boxes and monitoring the use of the sites by various bat species. In total, 11 boxes will be installed, with sites selected by Blueberry River monitors and Elders.
Bats face several threats to their existence, including habitat loss from agriculture expansion, forestry, and other industrial development. White nose syndrome is also a concern, a type of fungal infection which is lethal to bats.
The fungus thrives in cool, damp conditions and is easily found in the hibernacula — the cracks and crevices where bats make their home.
Eight species of bats are found in Northeast BC, and previous studies have been conducted in the Peace by organizations such as the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, tracking the northern myotis and little brown myotis.
These two species are also the study subjects of the First Nations’ project, which are valued for their pest control abilities by eating mosquitoes and other insects, as well as pollination and seed dispersal by eating nectar from flowers or fruit from plants.
More than six million bats in eastern North America have been killed by white nose syndrome. Climate change causing extreme weather events and wind farms are also potential threats to bats.