Friday, May 12, 2023

Canadian experts recommend 3 bat species be listed as endangered

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada is recommending the three species of bat be listed as endangered: hoary, silver-haired and eastern red bats. 

The Globe and Mail reports:
“There’s lots of indication that all three have been precipitously declining,” said Stephen Petersen, director of conservation and research at Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Zoo, who co-chairs the committee’s work on terrestrial mammals.

Among the causes that the committee identified as contributors to the bats’ decreasing numbers, “the mortality at wind farms seems to be the top threat,” he said.

One of these three species was cited when the Ontario government led by Premier Doug Ford attempted to cancel the Nation Rise Wind Farm - along with little and bit brown bats. Judges, far from batty, overturned the government. It seems only a matter of time until the brown bats will follow the others into endangered status.

From the Globe's article published on May 11, 2023:

Brandy Giannetta, vice-president of the Canadian Renewable Energy Association, said the domestic wind industry is aware of the issue and has been taking steps to reduce the impact on bat populations.

“We are not surprised by the recommendation for listing,” she said.

She added that turbine operators, using sound-based devices, can also detect when bats are near and, in some cases, can emit sounds that are intended to ward bats away.

From the same representative of the industry, 7 years ago:

A spokesperson for the Canadian Wind Energy Association said the association is concerned about reports that are based on limited data that have the effect of boosting estimates.

In response, CanWea is developing its own system that will be released this fall that is designed to improve existing and proposed bat regulations, said Brandy Giannetta, CanWea's Ontario regional director.
"It aims to achieve this in part by enhancing knowledge of the existing data in order to drive science-based policy decisions and also by providing avoidance, minimization, and mitigation options that we hope operators and regulators alike will find useful in conservation efforts," Giannetta said ..'

This was mostly bullshit in 2016 and remains so now. A "Wind Energy Bird and Bat Monitoring Database", but it is closed data submitted, voluntarily, by industrial wind industry participants: "The data from this database can only be accessed by authorized users, which include those collecting data on birds and bats using the recommended guidelines (for the purpose of accessing their own data only) and selected representatives from BSC, CANWEA, CWS and OMNRF."

Those organizations must have a special feeling today as expert panels recommend listing rapidly declining species of bat as endangered. Could be worse - they could have open sourced the data, exposing it to the dangers of actual data scienc.

My prediction is the bat species go instinct before they are officially listed as endangered - as I don't view the current federal government as having anywhere near as much concern for the natural world as it does for its alliance with the wind industry.

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