Toronto, like many cities, has a population of bats living within its borders, we just don’t have a superhero running around, dressed like one. In order to better protect these creatures of the night, the Ontario Species at Risk Stewardship Fund has teamed up with The High Park Nature Centre who are planning a community urban bat project.
This plan will involve youth volunteers from The High Park Nature Centre showing the public how bats interact. These volunteers will use bat detectors and song meters to monitor the bats. Families will be welcome to borrow bat detectors so that they can monitor bat activity around their homes and provide data for the project.
According to Ontario’s Minister of Natural Resources David Orazietti, this project is one of 106 designed to look after Ontario’s at risk species. There are over 200 species of animal in this province classified as at risk.
Natalie Harder is the executive director at the High Park Nature Centre. Harder says this project is an amazing opportunity for the High Park Nature Centre to engage and educate the community about some of the most vulnerable species found in Toronto.
She adds it is meant to appeal to families around the city.
The involvement of regular citizens is one of the key factors here as the entire 106 project program is only expected to cost $5 million over the next five years. Through the use of volunteers, costs are kept to a minimum.
But the biggest benefit is to a better understanding of the bats in our city. Dr. Brock Fenton from the University of Western Ontario, says that High Park is home to big brown bats. One unknown factor however is, “if the park also is used by migrating bats in the spring and in the fall.”
One unexpected surprise may be if the bat detectors manage to pick up a millionaire in a kevlar bat costume running around the streets of Toronto.