Little Brown Bat, Cory Olson
Little Brown Bat © Cory Olson

Bats

Bats are the world’s only flying mammal.

They’re more closely related to humans than mice, and are the longest-lived of all small mammals (some species up to 40 years).

As the primary consumers of night-time insects, bats are important for a healthy ecosystem.

Because most females raise only one pup per year, their populations cannot withstand high levels of mortality.

Why bats matter

Each species of bat plays a unique role in the ecosystem, and has specific habitat needs.

We need bats for ecosystem health. They help us by eating pest insects, and they need us to protect the variety of habitats on which they depend.

Western Bats

Bat boxes

Bat boxes

Bats need homes, but they need the right homes.

Creating bat habitat

Creating bat habitat

We're working on tree roost enhancement, old growth gap mitigation, and bat-friendly forestry techniques for the forestry industry.

Safer wind power for bats

Safer wind power for bats

An estimated 1 million bats are now being killed by wind turbines annually in North America – a number that will continue to rise as more wind turbines are constructed.

How you can help bats

How you can help bats

Take part in citizen science, and learn more about bats

How WCS Canada is helping bats

Protecting bats from white-nose syndrome (WNS)

WNS is a devastating fungal disease of bats that spreads among colonies, killing bats during hibernation. Millions of bats have died in eastern North America since 2007, and the westward march of this disease continues to kill an unknown number.

We’re leading a collaborative project to directly protect western Canadian bats from this disease, developing and now testing a natural microbial method to reduce deaths from this disease.

Because WNS kills bats in winter, we’re urgently working to locate winter roosts for bats, and understand their winter ecology.

We’re also working proactively to build resilience into bat populations by protecting and restoring habitat.

Addressing habitat loss for bats

Because bats are long-lived and often return to the same place they were born, they are particularly susceptible to threats from sudden loss of habitat.

Female bats need roosts with specific temperatures and humidity to raise young, and different species need different microclimates.

Designing better bat boxes

We’re creating and evaluating new roost structures for bats, including bat boxes and bat condos through our community bat program. We’re also monitoring existing roosts.

In our increasingly urbanized landscapes, natural roosting habitats are disappearing, and bats need human-built structures. But replacing bat habitat in urban areas isn’t as straight-forward as one might imagine. We’ve developed guidelines for safe and effective use of bat boxes.

Creating and Protecting Tree Roosts for Bats

Not all bat species use bat boxes or other human-built structures. That’s why we’re looking for more ways to make up for the loss of natural bat roosting habitat - especially, large, old trees - to benefit more bat species.

Safer wind power

An estimated 1 million bats are now being killed by wind turbines annually in North America – a number that will continue to rise as more wind turbines are constructed.

We're pushing the wind industry for safer turbine placement and operation.

You can help!

You can help us in our conservation efforts! Monitor a bat roost, or donate to support our research, outreach and education, and critical monitoring activities.

Projects

Bat boxes

Bat boxes

Bats need homes, but they need the right homes.

Creating bat habitat

Creating bat habitat

We're working on tree roost enhancement, old growth gap mitigation, and bat-friendly forestry techniques for the forestry industry.

How you can help bats

How you can help bats

Take part in citizen science, and learn more about bats

Safer wind power for bats

Safer wind power for bats

An estimated 1 million bats are now being killed by wind turbines annually in North America – a number that will continue to rise as more wind turbines are constructed.

Resources


Stories and op-eds

‘Bat boxes’ could help revive Canada’s depleting bat population
2021-08-05

‘Bat boxes’ could help revive Canada’s depleting bat population

From habitat loss to disease, bat species across Canada are facing multiple threats. As cities expand, the large old trees that bats call home are being cleared and bats are losing their roosts.
Bats are superheroes of the night. Their superpowers could help us protect them.
2020-12-28

Bats are superheroes of the night. Their superpowers could help us protect them.

Many of us might struggle to see a moose on a moonless night, let alone a mosquito. But some bats have a nifty trick — they use their ears to locate their bug prey.
Cori Lausen

Media coverage

Echoes in the Dark: Unveiling the Mysteries of Bats with Cori Lausen

In this episode, Cori unravels the secrets of these nocturnal creatures and the critical efforts underway to protect them.
2024-03-04 | Northern Latitudes podcast

Bats can sing—and this species might be crooning love songs

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, scientists discover only the second North American bat species known to sing.
2024-02-14 | National Geographic

Bats have a unique superpower. Climate change is turning it into a liability

“They break all the rules,” said Cori Lausen, a bat expert at the environmental group Wildlife Conservation Society Canada.
2024-01-30 | Vox

Our team

Cori Lausen

Cori Lausen

Director of Bat Conservation

Sarah Olson

Sarah Olson

Director of Health Research

Dana Blouin

Dana Blouin

Program Manager

Jason Rae

Jason Rae

 Bat Program Manager

Susan Holroyd

Susan Holroyd

WCS Canada Bat Program Manager

Cory Olson

Cory Olson

Alberta Bat Program Coordinator

Erin Low

Erin Low

Program Coordinator, BC Bat Program

Heather Gates

Heather Gates

Bat Program Field Coordinator

Maleen Mund

Maleen Mund

Probiotic Project Coordinator


Press releases

Bats need homes, but they need the right homes
2023-11-28

Bats need homes, but they need the right homes

Comprehensive guide to deploying bat houses released