30 October 2013

Public asked to report sightings of day-flying bats during the winter

Natural Resources

FREDERICTON (GNB) – The public is being asked to help in reporting possible cases of a fungal disease, white-nose syndrome, that is severely depleting populations of bats across eastern North America, including New Brunswick.

The Department of Natural Resources is working with the New Brunswick Museum to track the spread of the syndrome throughout the province and to understand the impact of the disease to the province's bat populations.

The disease was first detected near Albany, N.Y., in 2006, and has quickly spread. White-nose syndrome was first detected in New Brunswick in a cave in Albert County near Moncton in March 2011 by New Brunswick Museum researchers.

If members of the public see day-flying bats or dead or dying bats between November and May, they are asked to call the department’s Fish and Wildlife Branch, Species at Risk Program, in Fredericton at 506-453-3826, or Donald F. McAlpine, PhD, at the New Brunswick Museum, Zoology Section, in Saint John at 506-643-2345. 

Day-flying by bats during the hibernation period is considered abnormal and may indicate that an infected hibernation site is nearby.

The public is asked to avoid entering caves and abandoned mines that are known to be overwintering sites for bats because such visits could unknowingly spread the disease from one site to another.  While it is more likely that bats, being mobile, are spreading the disease among themselves, every effort should be made to minimize the human impact on bat populations during this critical time. Entering hibernation sites when bats are present can disturb them and increase their rates of mortality.

It is estimated that New Brunswick's overwintering bat population has dropped by about 99 per cent due to the syndrome.

Information on white-nose syndrome in New Brunswick can be found online.

Media Contact(s):

Anne Bull, communications, Department of Natural Resources, 506-453-2614, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .