Become a bat champion! Results of the first Bat Conservation report are in, and bats love Pemberton, so let’s love them back.

The attached report, Bat Conservation Pemberton: Understanding, Appreciating, and Stewarding Bats in Pemberton, BC, was produced by Greg Ferguson, in partnership with the Pemberton Wildlife Association and Stewardship Pemberton Society, with thanks to the Community Foundation of Whistler, BC Conservation Foundation, Pemberton Valley Supermarket, Quest University, BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, BC Community Bat Program, Wildlife Conservation Society of Canada, and several landowners that supported survey work, volunteers that helped with project activities, and community organizations and businesses that supported outreach and education.

It was the FIRST outreach, inventory and education project around bats that has been undertaken in the Pemberton area – and is important because understanding and conserving bats and their habitats is urgently needed in BC.

The project greatly increased our understanding of bats and their habitats in Pemberton – with 6 bat roosts identified, acoustic surveys completed, guano collected and culverts and bridges inventoried for bat use.

Bats are ecologically, socially and economically important, with BC having the richest diversity in Canada (16 species). Yet bats and their habitats are at risk, with half of BC species of conservation concern. Threats include habitat loss, pesticides, climate change and White-nose syndrome (WNS), the latter devastating eastern bat populations and detected near Seattle in 2016.

Very little was known about the presence, distribution and abundance of bats and their habitats in the Pemberton area. No individuals or groups had specifically been involved in bat education, inventory or conservation activities. This project helped develop partnerships and awareness and complete inventory to increase involvement, understanding, appreciation and conservation of bats and their habitats in the Pemberton area.

In Pemberton, the team detected evidence of 9 different species of bats. Namely, Townsend’s big-eared bat, big brown bat, hoary bat, silver-haired bat, Californian myotis, long-eared bat, little brown bat, long- legged bat, and Yuma myotis (Table 1, Figure 2).

Pemberton provides remarkable species diversity, capturing activity from over half of the species known to reside in western Canada.

Diversity between detectors was relatively low, and each detector collected at least one recording from almost all 9 species. Two transects and one year of observation is not generally sufficient to accurately estimate relative abundances of species, but little brown myotis and silver-haired bats were the most frequently detected species along the transect routes in Pemberton (Figure 3).

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