About the team

The Alberta Bat Action Team (ABAT) is a working group of enthusiastic people with a common goal of improving bat conservation and management within Alberta. ABAT is forging ahead with innovative programs aimed at conservation and management of bat species that reside in or migrate through the province.

ABAT membership

ABAT has strong representation from:

  • consulting companies
  • government
  • industry
  • the public
  • universities

All members have previous experience with bats and a passion for improving our understanding and management of the nine species that occur in the province.

Programs

Current Activities

ABAT is active in the following areas:

Activity Area Details
Writing protocols and providing direction for government and consultants as it relates to bats
  • Develop Wind Energy Protocol - post-construction, particularly as relates to monitoring bat mortality.
  • Develop guidelines for people entering caves in Alberta: a proactive response to White Nose Syndrome.
Establishing a central listing of bat-related documents, reports, and theses pertinent to bat management in Alberta
  • Alberta Bat Bibliography - continue updating.
  • BC Bat Bibliography - check for updates.
Compiling and facilitating the compilation and submission of all previous bat and bat-related records in Alberta
  • Encourage and facilitate the submission of data (date, location, sex, age, and reproductive status) of captures into the Fish and Wildlife Management Information System (FWMIS) - ongoing.
  • Encourage and facilitate the submission of known building roost locations and estimated roost populations (counts) to FWMIS - ongoing.
  • Develop bat band recoveries information/procedures.
Communicating and promoting education
  • Encourage education of agency and industry biologists as well as pest control specialists so that bat conservation and management is put in appropriate perspective - ongoing.
  • Update Distribution Maps.
  • Establish additional and/or update existing materials on SRD/Fish and Wildlife website (species accounts, bat house guides, etc.) - ongoing.
Suggesting and prioritizing research directions for bat work in Alberta.
  • Continue to review and revise list of research priorities on website - ongoing.

Suggested Research Priorities for Bats in Alberta

Activity Area Details
High Priority
  • Investigate the migratory behaviour of bats and the causes, consequences, and mitigation of bat mortality at wind farms
  • Establish migratory patterns of hoary and silver-haired bats, perhaps working in spring and fall in conjunction with bird banders at:
  • Establish long-term monitoring sites and canopy monitoring sites example: Lesser Slave Lake
  • Conduct geographic surveys for species presence and reproductive activity throughout the province. Priorities: northeastern, northwestern, central regions
  • Identify winter hibernacula for bats in the province, and establish a regular monitoring program for known bat hibernacula.
    • To achieve this goal, begin gleaning information from indirect sources to help identify previously unknown hibernacula. Example: caving groups.
    • Passive acoustic monitoring programs in strategic areas around the province may also be beneficial in locating winter hibernation area.
Medium Priority
  • Identify summer roosting habitat requirements, especially for tree-roosting species in the Boreal and Parkland zones.
    • Focus on understanding the degree of dependency on forests and specific roosting needs within forests.
    • Acquire enough information to predict current and long term distributions, taking into account industrial impacts
  • Determine impact, if any, that tailings ponds in northeastern Alberta are having on bats (migratory and residential species).
Low Priority
  • Assess genetic population structure with regard to management needs
  • Conduct surveys of exposed diurnal roosts for extent, species/sex/age composition, and duration
  • Collect ectoparasites.

Publications

ABAT provides recommendations regarding the development of standards for bat inventory, data collection, and data storage. Further, the group sets priorities with regard to information gaps and research needs that have direct bearing on improved bat conservation in Alberta.

Inventory and Research Protocols

Sensitive Species Inventory Guidelines
Refer to this page for the following wildlife inventory guidelines related to bats in Alberta:

  • Bats and Wind Turbines: Pre-Siting and Pre-Construction Survey Protocols
  • Handbook of Inventory Methods and Standard Protocols for Surveying Bats in Alberta
  • Standard Data Sheets for Bat Surveys in Alberta

The Sensitive Species Inventory Guidelines document also contains a section on bats.

Wildlife Research and Collection
Visit this page for the following bat-related wildlife research protocols:

  • Class Protocol 004: Bat Capture, Handling and Release
  • Addendum to Class Protocol 004: Bat Handling Protocol to Prevent Spread of White Nose Syndrome

Western Canada Bat Network

ABAT is a founding member of the Western Canada Bat Network (WCBN – formerly called the Western Canadian Bat Working Group) a group of bat professionals, students and enthusiasts from across Western Canada organized under the Western Bat Working Group (WBWG).

The WBWG is a partner in the Coalition of North American Bat Working Groups and a registered non-profit organization comprising agencies, organizations and individuals interested in bat research, management and conservation.

The Western Bat Working Group, the Western Canada Bat Network and the Alberta Bat Action Team represent a hierarchy of working groups, each facilitating communication about bat conservation, research and management on different geographic scales.

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