Happy New Year from Contact Environment and SOS Bats
As part our Bat Monday series we’d like to start this year with a guest blog post from one of our non-profit partners, Contact Environmental, doing great bat conservation work in Quebec’s Gaspésie region.
Contact Environment is a non-profit organization dedicated to environmental literacy which is defined as ‘an individual’s understanding, skills and motivation to make responsible decisions that considers his or her relationships to natural systems, communities and future generations.‘
In addition to the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s Wild Education workshops delivered by Contact Environment a partnership with the Micmac community of Gespeg has allowed funding from Environment Canada’s Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk program to help develop and promote SOS Bats, the awareness and data collection initiative for species at risk bats in the Gaspésie region.
Both the Micmac community of Gespeg and Contact Environment who have co- managed the initiative for the past three years are excited about the newest developments including a toll free number which has been added to their list of tools.
The toll free 1-833-877-2287 is an information line for those having questions about bats year round but perhaps more importantly during the white nose syndrome surveillance period from November to May it provides opportunity for the public to stay on the lookout and report day flying bats and or those who may wind up inside houses or other structures as temperatures fluctuate over the winter.
Dr. André Banville, long-time veterinarian for the Gaspe region and supporter of SOS Bats, has agreed to assist with the process of obtaining the necessary provincial permit for the possession and transportation of (species at risk) wildlife so that SOS Bats can provide care for distressed bats until they can be relocated for rehab and eventual release.
Contact Environment is hopeful that reporting bats will become second nature, allowing more information to be collected from the area that will be useful in the federal recovery strategies and increase the possibility of saving the species from potential extirpation.
Data loggers have been installed at the Global Unesco Geoparc of Perce at the cave ‘Trou sans Fond’ and at the Grotte de Saint Elzear. Through a collaboration initiated with Francois Fabianek of the Groupe Chiropteres du Quebec data will be collected over a three year period which could confirm one or both sites as hibernacula.
A monitored maternity roost in the Cortereal will also have data loggers installed inside and outside to compare data which will be collected from active bat houses (single bat per house) and inactive bat houses.
SOS Bats would like to thank the family who has the Little brown bat colony living inside the wall of their house. They continue to support monitoring efforts and are ready to help with the installation of equipment to further the cause for the colony which once numbered over 200 individuals and has gone down to fewer than 60 bats.
‘Bat Stories’, organized with the Geoparc in conjunction with the Perce Polar Ice Dip (Saucette de Perce) over the Christmas season, saw Tim Adams, animator for the Micmac community of Gespeg, hold a mesmerized audience with How Bat Saved the Sun, and a symbolic adoption of a Little brown bat was also gifted to the Geoparc from SOS Bats.
A huge thank you also goes out to Canadian Wildlife Federation and Jon Wiermsma for the generous donation of the adoption kit, calendars, bi-lingual magazines dvd’s, bat posters, and stickers to help create awareness for species at risk bats.
The Canadian Wildlife Federation has also provided contacts for Bat Houses including Jefferson Drost of Homes4Wildlife. An important contact who will share his expertise to build more efficient structures adapted to the climatic needs of the region.
Future plans for SOS Bats include Wind Energy partnerships for increased inventory and awareness activities. More details will follow on our involvement with research into bat habitat needs for reproductive females and improving bat house designs, as well as some longer term initiatives with regional and provincial entities.
The Little Brown Ribbon campaign, which is a book mark and a brown ribbon which is worn to create awareness for species at risk bats, is gaining momentum and if you’d like more information about this important awareness tool please contact SOS Bats or Contact Environment at 581 887 2763, visit the respective Facebook pages or http://contactenvironnement.ca/
Guest blog submitted by Jeanie LeLacheur, Contact Environment