6 bat species detected in Stanley Park

Bat surveys were conducted in Stanley Park between April 01 and August 01, 2018 and included emergence counts, acoustic monitoring, mist netting, and documentation of incidental observations. Emergence counts (when bats emerge from their daytime roosts) were conducted at the Stanley Park Dining Pavilion and Vancouver Rowing Club by SPES staff and volunteers and SCBats volunteers following protocol defined by the BC Community Bat Program. Ultrasonic data was collected during emergence counts at the Pavilion and Vancouver Rowing Club using an Echo Meter Touch 2 PRO (Wildlife Acoustics) with additional data collected at Beaver Lake during SPES’s Nature Ninjas school program. Acoustic data was analyzed with Kaleidoscope software. Mist netting (catch and release) was conducted at Beaver Lake by Dr. Cori Lausen (Wildlife Conservation Society Canada), Leah Rensen (University of British Columbia), and associated assistants. 

A bat researcher holds a bat captured in a mist net in Stanley Park. (Photo: Maria Egerton/SPES)

A total of six species were confirmed in Stanley Park, which were big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus), California myotis (Myotis californicus), hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus), little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus), silver-haired myotis (Lasionycteris noctivagans), and Yuma myotis (Myotis yumanensis). Bats were documented flying and foraging at the Pavilion, Stanley Park Railway, Vancouver Rowing Club, and Beaver Lake. The roost in the Stanley Park Pavilion’s attic was predominantly occupied by Yuma myotis and California myotis, with a possible minor component of little brown myotis. It appeared that roofing work at the Pavilion did not stop bats from utilizing the attic as a roost.

The Dining Pavilion during roof replacement this past spring. A bat roost in the attic remains in use.

Western small-footed myotis is provincially Blue-listed and little brown myotis was emergency listed as Endangered on Schedule 1 of the federal Species at Risk Act in 2014 because of sudden population declines across the eastern portions of its range. The biggest threat to survival and recovery of these and other bat species is the fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome, which was detected in western North America (Washington State) in March 2016. Recommendations to help monitor and support bat species in Stanley Park include continued monitoring according to the BC Community Bat Program, testing for white-nose syndrome where feasible, and protecting roosting habitat to the extent possible.

By Vanessa Sadler, Conservation Projects Manager and Ariane Comeau, Conservation Technician