POLITICS

West-end Toronto residents to track bats in species at risk project

03/05/2014 05:44 EST | Updated 05/05/2014 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Residents of a west-Toronto neighbourhood will be trained to use bat-detecting technology as part of a project to help keep track of the city's urban bat population.

Natural Resources Minister David Orazietti says the Urban Bat Project is one of more than 75 new projects the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund is supporting.

After some training on how to use song meters and hand-held bat detectors, residents will be able to borrow the equipment in order to measure bat activity around their homes.

Natalie Harder, executive director at the High Park Nature Centre, says bats are some of the most vulnerable species found in Toronto.

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

Along with bats, the fund is providing about $5 million to projects involving other endangered species, like the piping plover and the rusty-patched bumble bee.

"I look forward to working with Toronto residents to discover what bats use the airspace over High Park," Brock Fenton of the University of Western Ontario said Wednesday.

"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," Fenton said.

According to Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources, more than 200 of the province's species are in trouble.