Endangered Bats' Birthing Ground In Peril After B.C. Quake

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An endangered species of bat may have lost its breeding ground after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake caused a hot spring to disappear. (Smithsonian)
An endangered species of bat may have lost its breeding ground after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake caused a hot spring to disappear. (Smithsonian)

An endangered species of bat may have lost its birthing ground after the magnitude 7.7 earthquake off the coast of Haida Gwaii caused one of island's hot springs to disappear.

About 40 Keen's myotis bats roost at Hot Spring Island in Gwaii Haanas National Park.

"These bats come to the island every summer to have their babies and the roosts at hot springs are one of only two maternal colonies that’s right now known in the entire range of the species," said Carey Bergman, an ecologist in Gwaii Haanas.

It’s uncertain whether the bats will return to Gwaii Hanaas now that the hot springs are gone.

"The roosts that they choose are quite special. They're actually heated up above ambient temperature by the water that flows under the island," Bergman said

"I've got my fingers crossed that once the geology settles down and the aftershocks taper off that maybe the hot water will come back."

She says the full impact of the earthquake on the bats won't be known until next summer.

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