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Bats and White Nose Syndrome


Photo Credit: West Virginia Department Of Natural Resources

Report a Bat   Report a Cave

Some caves in the Canadian Rockies are home to bats, as either hibernacula - places where they hibernate during winter months - or maternity colonies - places where mothers raise their pups. Other caves may see visits from isolated individuals or small groups on a temporary basis. Bats are an important part of a healthy ecosystem and are vital in the control of mosquitos and other insects; unfortunately many species are now seriously threatened. Never disturb roosting bats, particularly in winter when their energy reserves are critically low, or in spring when their pups are unable to fly. You can find more information on bats in Alberta at the Alberta Environment & Parks Bats page and the Alberta Community Bat Program page. 

If you come across bats in or near a cave, please let us know. It is valuable information for understanding these fasinating mammals. Use the reporting  link above or otherwise email info@caving.ab.ca

A very serious disease known as White Nose Syndrome, which has been endemic in Europe for many years, appeared in the northeastern United States in 2006 and subsequently spread west, south and north. In 2016 it made a large jump to Washington State and has more recently been detected in Canada as far west as Manitoba.  White Nose Syndrome has  resulted in extremely high bat mortality, including the destruction of entire bat colonies, throughout the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. Biologists do not know if WNS will spread to western Canada, but the Alberta Speleological Society is helping the Province of Alberta monitor caves for its appearance. If you observe any bat colonies that exhibit signs of WNS, please send details to info@caving.ab.ca. This page will be updated with information or recommendations as it becomes available.

As a precaution all cavers are strongly encouraged to decontaminate their cave gear after every trip into a cave, whether or not the cave is known to be populated by bats.  Gear previously used in known white nose affected areas should NEVER be used in a non - white nose affected area.  You can find the latest Western Canada White Nose Syndrome Transmission Prevention guidelines attached below and in this video from Parks Canada.

More information on Bats and White Nose Syndrome can be found at the following websites: 

PDF icon WNS Decontamination Protocol March 2017730.28 KB