Three bat species listed as endangered in Canada

The Government of Canada recently employed the Emergency Listing provision of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) to add three species of bats to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk in Canada (also known as Schedule I of SARA). These three bats species, the little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus), the northern myotis (Myotis septentrionalis) and the tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus), have been listed as Endangered due to recent population declines due to mortality from the disease known as white-nose syndrome (WNS).

The disease is named for the white fungus that grows on the muzzle of affected bats while they hibernate. The disease has now been confirmed in five provinces: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. The fungus is likely spread by contact between individual bats, their environments and by people who carry the fungus spores on their clothing, equipment, footwear or by other means. In Canadian provinces, the addition of these bats to Schedule I of SARA means that these three species are legally protected where they are found on federal lands. Environment Canada identifies forestry as one of the businesses operating on federal lands that are likely to be affected by the listing. The agency also mentions that, because these species consume significant quantities of insects that damage forests, the absence of these bats would have a negative impact on Canadian forestry sector. More information about the listing is available at http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=073DC653-1.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is also considering whether to list the northern myotis (also known as the northern long-eared bat) as an endangered species in the United States where detections have declined in some parts of the species’ range due to WNS. NCASI has submitted technical comments to the Service noting that trends in forest area and condition are unrelated to trends in detections of northern long-eared bats, forestry can be used to create diverse forest conditions required by many bat species, and there is uncertainty associated with estimates of population trends for the species. The Service is expected to make a listing determination by April 2, 2015.

Contact information