Ontario Offers Reminder to Help Support Bat Safety
Province Encouraging Ontarians to Steer Clear of Hibernation Habitats
The Province is reminding Ontarians to stay out of caves, mines and other habitats for hibernating bats as winter approaches, and to report any instances of dead bats or bats flying outdoors during the winter.
In recent years, bats have been threatened by a fatal disease known as white-nose syndrome. White-nose syndrome impacts the hibernation patterns of bats, and can cause them to wake up prematurely from hibernation, using up their winter fat stores too soon.
While the disease spreads from bat to bat and cannot be transmitted to humans, people who enter infected caves or mines may also unknowingly carry the fungus on their clothes, shoes and equipment and transfer the disease to another bat cave.
If you see dead bats or bats flying outside during the winter, please contact the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative at 1-866-673-4781 or the Ministry of Natural Resources Information Centre at 1-800-667-1940.
- To help protect the province’s at-risk bat populations, three species of bats – little brown myotis (little brown bat), northern myotis (northern long-eared bat) and eastern small-footed bat – are on the Species at Risk in Ontario List.
- White-nose syndrome has killed over seven million bats across North America since 2007 and was first detected in Ontario in 2010.
- In May 2015, Ontario released its White-nose Syndrome Response Plan to guide efforts to detect, research and mitigate white-nose syndrome in bats.
- White-nose syndrome is not transmitted to humans but has significantly reduced populations in bat colonies up to 95 to 100 per cent within two-three years of infection.
“Bats are an integral part of Ontario’s biodiversity and play an important role in our environment by curbing populations of harmful insects to farms and forests. It’s important that everyone remembers to stay out of caves and mines so we don’t disturb bats, especially those bat species that are already at risk in our province.”