Species at Risk Act

Emergency Listing Amending SARA:
Endangered Species of Bats

Technical Document:

Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act.

Regulation to be modified:

Species at Risk Act (S.C. 2002, c. 29)

On November 25, 2014, an Emergency Listing Order was issued (i.e. published in the Dec 17, 2014 edition of Canada Gazette Part II), listing three bat species as endangered.

Populations of these species of bats have declined in the eastern part of their Canadian range since 2010, due to a fungus that grows on them while hibernating, causing a disease called "White-Nose Syndrome."

Three bat species assessed by the Committee on the Status of Wildlife in Canada

 

Common name (Scientific name)

Status

Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus)

Endangered

Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis)

Endangered

Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus)

Endangered

 

Both the 2012 and 2014 COSEWIC assessments indicated that the main threat to the survival of the three species of bats is the presence of a highly contagious fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, in hibernation areas, such as caves and inactive mines. This fungus is responsible for the onset of WNS. The fungus is spreading rapidly and causing high rates of mortality for all three bat species.

Bats affected byWhite Nose Syndrome (WNS) arouse frequently during hibernation, depleting their limited resources (stored water, electrolytes and fat) and making them more likely to die.

The analysis done by Environment Canada contained herein for the three bat species was based on the information provided in the 2012 and 2014 COSEWIC assessments and three main assumptions are:

  1. the expectation that mortality trends from eastern populations in Canada will apply to the western Canadian populations;
  2. that there is a high probability that WNS will rapidly spread to all hibernacula in the Canadian range; and
  3. given the catastrophic declines in eastern Canada and the northeast United States, there is little likelihood of Canadian populations being rescued by individuals immigrating into Canada with a tolerance to WNS.

The listing of the three bat species in Schedule 1 of SARA:

  • Provides legal protection of these bat species when found on federal lands (individuals and their residences).
  • Triggers a recovery planning process which involves identification and protection of critical habitat necessary for the recovery of the species.

Impacts on Industry:

Industries that may be impacted include:

  • Wind Turbines (e.g. bats may collide with blades; barotrauma)
  • Mining (e.g. inactive mines used during hibernation)
  • Forestry (e.g. trees used for roosting)
  • Infrastructure Projects (e.g. bridges used during breeding season)
  • Caving, Bat Research, Pest Control, Federal Land Managers

Due to the existing requirements of the Migratory Bird Convention Act, including prohibitions against destruction of migratory bird nests, businesses might already be operating in compliance with the Emergency Listing Order (i.e. bats use the same trees in the same forests at the same time of year as migratory birds).

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