White Nose Syndrome (WNS), is a disease that is having a catastrophic impact on the hibernating species of bats in eastern Canada and the United States. It is caused by an introduced pathogenic fungus Psudeogymnoascus destructans, growing on the hibernating bats’ wings and bodies causing frequent arousals, emaciation and death. To combat WNS we need to address three major items:
1. Where are the bats;
2. Can we improve pre- and post-hibernation survivorship; and
3. How do we treat WNS with insectivorous microbats.
Although much of the western Canadian effort that the team members are involved with has been in the search for hibernaculas, as outlined in the video attached, we have moved towards item 2: Can we improve bat survivorship?
In the next few posts we will add information about development and then testing bat houses in a Thermotron Environmental chamber. Our prototype houses and subsystems are forecasted to passively stabilize thermal conditions inside the bat houses.
Working with numerous stakeholders across the province ranging from the ministry of Alberta Environment and Parks through to naturalist groups, product manufacturers and industrial contributors we aim to develop and implement a better bat house. The bat houses will be placed close to the Cadomin Cave Hibernacula to improve roosting potential and fat reserve retention in fall and spring migrations.