July 20, 2024
B.C. scientists testing new way to protect against deadly fungus
This bat has white nose syndrome, a fungal infection that has killed millions of bats across North America. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
This bat has white nose syndrome, a fungal infection that has killed millions of bats across North America. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

For Leah Rensel, there’s nothing better than dipping your hands into a plastic trap full of angry bats.

The University of British Columbia Okanagan grad student has a smile on her face as she grabs the tiny mammals that have been caught in a special device that waylays them as they exit the plywood bat box they call home.

She holds one in her gloved hands, trying to identify the species as it nips at her fingertips.

“Probably a little brown, by the way he’s biting me,” she says as she balances on a ladder at dusk in a park in Port Coquitlam, a Vancouver suburb.

Rensel is part of a team working late into the night to capture the critters and treat their nesting boxes in an experimental attempt to halt the spread of a bat-killing fungus.

White nose syndrome has ripped through North American bat populations, killing millions.

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