Disease threatens BC’s Bats – Need your help

Sleeping bat – a healthy Myotis bat found hibernating in a woodpile – reporting sleeping bats helps researchers learn what is normal. Photo: C Buick

OKANAGAN AREA, BC – B.C.’s bats, including the well-known Little Brown Bat, are threatened by a fungal disease headed towards the province from Alberta and Washington State. The Okanagan Community Bat Program, in collaboration with the Province of BC, is asking the public for help in the effort to detect and prevent the spread of White-Nose Syndrome (WNS). Residents are urged to report any bat activity observed in winter and any sick or dead bats found before May 31st.

What is White Nose Syndrome?

White-Nose Syndrome is a fungal disease that is harmless to humans and pets, but has devastated North American bat populations. The fungus attacks bats while they are hibernating, growing on their faces to give an appearance of a white nose. Bats often wake to clean the fungus from their skin. This uses valuable energy, and finally the bats die from starvation. Across North America, millions of bats have been killed, and two BC species are now listed as Endangered due to the disease.

First detected in New York State in 2006, the disease continues to spread, with detections on the west coast close to Seattle and in south-central Alberta. Biologists say the arrival of WNS in BC is imminent. Increasing the number of reports from the public is the best chance to understand how WNS might spread and affect local bat populations. Though there is not yet a proven cure for WNS, several promising treatment options are being developed, and it may be possible to mitigate the effects of this wildlife health crisis.

White-nose syndrome occurrence map – by year (2023). Downloaded 2023-02-07. Available at

What you can do

If you find a dead bat or have sightings of winter bat activity, please report to the B.C. Community Bat Program online at , via email at [email protected] or by calling 1-855-922-2287 ext.13.  All live bats should be left alone — keep your distance, snap a photo and report it to the B.C. Community Bat Program. If you must move a bat, visit for advice and never touch a bat with your bare hands. Please note that if you or your pet has been in direct contact with the bat you will need further information regarding the risk of rabies to you and your pet.  Please contact the BC Community Bat Program for more information.

Bats – OUR Buddies

The bats of BC are key predators of many night-flying insects.  They are essential parts of BC’s ecosystems and provide billions of dollars of economic benefit by helping control agricultural, forest, and urban pests.   In partnership with the BC Ministry of Environment, the BC Community Bat Program provides information and promotes local stewardship and citizen science.  

Okanagan Resources

The BC Community Bat Program Okanagan Region extends its gratitude to partners involved in bat conservation including the Bat Education and Environmental Protection Society (Peachland), Environmental Education Centre Okanagan (Kelowna), Allan Brooks Nature Centre (Vernon), Osoyoos Desert Society (Osoyoos), BC Parks (Penticton), Grist Mill (Keremeos), The Nature Trust (Twin Lakes), Granby Wilderness Society (Grand Forks) and several Okanagan naturalist and outdoor clubs The program runs thanks to funding from  the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Forest Enhancement Society of BC, and the Habitat Stewardship Program. You can find out more about the BC Community Bat Program and options for helping local bat populations at[email protected], or 1-855-922-2287 ext.13.

Dinner Under the Stars Auction Fundraiser

The Allan Brooks Nature Centre presents the third annual Dinner Under the Stars auction fundraiser. Guests are invited to place a bid on any of the five private starlit dinners, featuring Vernon’s finest chefs including four course dinners, wine pairings, live entertainment, and a shuttle service to and from the Nature Centre, for one of the most memorable Okanagan experiences in nature.

The online auction will open on Friday June 4th at 9am and close on Sunday June 6th at 8pm. The winning bidders will then attend the dinner with up to 8 friends and family, for an intimate evening at one of the most breathtaking locations in Vernon. 2021 Dinner Under the Stars participating restaurants include:

June 21: Gumtree Catering presents “Summer Solstice”

July 11: Isadore’s on Main and Bamboo Beach Fusion Grille collaborate to present “East Meets West”

July 25: Chef Mathew Morazain presents “As You Like It”

August 8: Predator Ridge Resort presents “Globally Inspired, Locally Created”

August 21: SilverStar Mountain Resort presents “A Night Under the Tuscan Stars”

Proceeds from Dinner Under the Stars supports the future of the Allan Brooks Nature Centre. Our mandate is to “promote the enjoyment of nature and increasing awareness of habitat conservation through environmental education and nature-related activities in the Okanagan region. We are thankful that our dinners are Covid-friendly so that we can continue to provide outstanding experiences in nature, and also support our efforts to deliver quality programming and provide guests of all ages a connection to nature.

The auction will be live soon HERE


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