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Brown bat. File

Nova Scotians are being asked to report bat sightings to help track the status of the province’s bat population.

In 2013, more than 1,000 bat sightings were reported to a website and hotline hosted by the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute.

"This year, we are also asking the public to help us monitor roosting sites, where bats congregate to birth and raise their young," said Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute wildlife biologist Brad Toms in a media release. "People who reported roosting sites, either this year or last, are being asked to monitor those sites twice this year, once in July and once in August. It will only take about an hour, from just before sunset to just after dark."

White-nose syndrome, a fatal infection caused by a cold-climate fungus, has killed millions of bats throughout northeastern North America in just a few years.

After a 95 per cent decline at five mainland winter hibernation sites, the government designated the little brown Myotis, the northern Myotis and the tri-coloured bat under the Nova Scotia Endangered Species Act last year.

Although there is no proven danger to humans from white-nose syndrome, bats can carry diseases and people should not handle them.

Report bat sightings at www.batconservation.ca or call 1-866-727-3447. 

Organizations: Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute

Geographic location: North America, Northern Myotis, Nova Scotia

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