Province encouraging Ontarians to steer clear of hibernation habitats

Little brown bat

The Province is reminding Ontarians to stay out of caves, mines and other habitats for hibernating bats as winter approaches, and to report any instances of dead bats or bats flying outdoors during the winter.

[pull_quote_right]”Bats are an integral part of Ontario’s biodiversity and play an important role in our environment by curbing populations of harmful insects to farms and forests. It’s important that everyone remembers to stay out of caves and mines so we don’t disturb bats, especially those bat species that are already at risk in our province.”
– Bill Mauro
Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry[/pull_quote_right]

In recent years, bats have been threatened by a fatal disease known as white-nose syndrome. White-nose syndrome impacts the hibernation patterns of bats, and can cause them to wake up prematurely from hibernation, using up their winter fat stores too soon.

While the disease spreads from bat to bat and cannot be transmitted to humans, people who enter infected caves or mines may also unknowingly carry the fungus on their clothes, shoes and equipment and transfer the disease to another bat cave.

If you see dead bats or bats flying outside during the winter, please contact the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative at 1-866-673-4781 or the Ministry of Natural Resources Information Centre at 1-800-667-1940.