Letter to the editor

The Kootenay Community Bat Project (KCBP), a group dedicated to bat conservation, has secured funding to build a bat condo to replace the barn. 

This specialized structure would provide a safe roost for the bats, ensuring their continued presence in the area. However, despite the generous offer of using the old barn wood for the condo, the Fairmont Resort has declined to provide a location for its construction on their property.

“This is a critical situation for the bat colony,” explains Elodie Kuhnert, a bat biologist with the KCBP. “Without a new roosting site, these bats will be forced to find shelter elsewhere, which could lead to a decline in their numbers.” 

Kuhnert also mentioned, “DNA tests have shown that the barn is used by two different species, and we suspect a third one.”

The resort’s decision comes as a surprise to many, given their initial willingness to contribute to the conservation effort. However, their concerns about noise and disruption to guests have led them to decline the offer of hosting the bat condo on their grounds.

“While we acknowledge the resort’s concerns, it’s important to note that not providing the condo on their property won’t necessarily deter the bats from seeking shelter elsewhere. They may end up in other buildings where they might not be as welcome, causing more concerns to the resort’s guests,” says Kuhnert. “We are exploring other options for the bat condo. Our priority is to find a suitable location before the demolition begins in April.”

With the deadline approaching, the KCBP is urging community members to suggest potential locations for the bat condo. Ideally, the site should be within the bats’ foraging range (within one kilometre from the barn would be ideal, the closer the better) and provide protection from predators and the elements.

“We’re hopeful we can find a new home for these bats,” says Kuhnert. “Their presence indicates a healthy ecosystem, and preserving them is crucial for natural pest control.”

Kootenay Community Bat Project