On a recent Saturday evening, as soon as it became dark, Kari Marks did something pretty unique.
Marks, the manager of the Wild ARC Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre in Metchosin, released a long-eared bat in Chemainus Oct. 6 at around 7:30 p.m.
“Most people have no clue we have them here,” she said. “They’re quite rare.”
The bat was taken to Wild ARC from Chemainus, and Marks released it very close to where it was originally found.
In the dark, Marks released the bat in the grassy area beside The Steeples seniors residence on Esplanade Street.
“The release went very well,” said Marks. “Once the bat took flight, we quickly lost sight of it.”
The bat arrived at Wild ARC Sept. 21.
It was found hanging on the wall by the medical clinic on Esplanade Street in Chemainus.
“For us, it was a little bit odd to be hanging like that,” said Marks. “They usually hang out in groups, assuming it was a brown bat. We brought it here and checked it out, and it seemed to be in perfectly good health — no abnormalities at all.”
When the bat first came in, it weighed seven grams, but its weight went down to six grams from the stress of being in captivity. The bat was fed — initially by hand — and before releasing him, Marks said he was doing “very well.”
Wild ARC was keen to release the bat back into the area where it came from.
“The bat will know the territory and likely belong to a colony in the area,” noted Marks.
Marks says there are two different species of long-eared bats — the western myotis and the Keen’s myotis — and they are not sure which species this one is.
“We spoke to a bat expert at the Royal BC Museum, and he said it could be either,” said Marks.
Wild ARC gets a least a few animals transferred to the rehabilitation facility in Metchosin from Chemainus each year, but Marks thinks this is the first time they have had a long-eared bat from Chemainus.
Wild ARC is a Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre operated by the BC SPCA. As the only wildlife rehabilitation centre on southern Vancouver Island, Wild ARC treats almost 2,000 wild animals annually from throughout the region.