West-end Toronto residents to monitor bats

Residents in a west-end Toronto neighbourhood will be trained to use bat-detecting technology as part of a project to help monitor Toronto’s urban bat population.

The Urban Bat Project allows residents to rent equipment such as: song metres and hand-held bat detectors that measure bat activity around their homes.

“Projects such as this help us appreciate the role all species play in our province’s ecosystem and show us that we can work together to protect Ontario’s natural spaces and the plants and animals that live in them,” said Natural Resources Minister David Oraziett in a news release.

“Through these community efforts and government action, such as our recently introduced Invasive Species Act, we can safeguard our province’s biodiversity.”

Natalie Harder, executive director at the High Park Nature Centre, said that bats are one of the most vulnerable species in the Toronto area.

According to the Endangered Species Handbook, bats are very important to the ecological system as they control insects and help with pollination.

“I look forward to working with Toronto residents to discover what bats use the air space over High Park,” said University of Western Ontario professor Dr. Brock Fenton in a news release.  We know there are resident big brown bats in the park, but it remains to be seen if the park also is used by migrating bats in the spring and in the fall.”

Distribution of the little brown bat

Orazietti, said that in addition to the Urban Bat Project  there are also more than 75 new projects the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund is supporting.

In addition to bats, the fund will provide about $5 million to projects involving other endangered species such as the piping plover and the rusty-patched bumble bee.

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