Some caves in the Canadian Rockies are home to bats, as either hibernaculum - places where they hibernate during winter months or maternity colonies - places where mothers raise their pups. Bats are an important part of a healthy ecosystem and are vital in the control of mosquitos and other insects. Never disturb roosting bats, particularly in winter when their energy reserves are critically low or in spring when thier pups are unable to fly. You can find more information on bats in Alberta at the Alberta SRD Bats page.
A very serious disease known as White Nose Syndrome appeared in the northeastern United States in 2006. White Nose Syndrome has since resulted in 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. This page will be updated with information or recommendations as it becomes available.
As a precaution all cavers are encouraged to decontaminate thier cave gear after every trip into bat populated caves. Gear used in known white nose affected areas should NEVER be used in a non white nose affected area. You can find the latest decontamination information at whitenosesyndrome.org.
More information on White Nose Syndrome can be found at the following websites:
- Alberta Fish and Wildlife
- Ontario Natural Resources
- White Nose Map
- National Speleological Society
- Video on WNS