“Everything you think is true is a myth, folklore and not true,” Brigham says.
There are so many misconceptions about the winged mammal that Brigham gives public lectures to bridge the knowledge gap. He says that scientists have trouble communicating their research to the general public in a meaningful way; these lectures give him a chance to do so.
But they are also meant to educate the public on how man-made structures can kill massive numbers of bats. For example, for reasons unknown to Brigham, bats are attracted to windmills, which, he says, kill about 100 bats per year, per windmill.
“If you look around (a windmill), you will find carcasses all over the place,” he says.
Why should we care? Bats procreate one pup a year which limits the animal’s ability to bounce back from mass killings. So when their populations drop, it takes many years to recover.
Brigham says windmills are an excellent source of renewable energy, but says the design needs to be more bat friendly.
“Green energy looks great. We aren’t creating green house gases. Helping (combat) climate change, but (we’re) snuffing bats.”
Mother nature is also challenging bats’ well being. A plague, called “white nose syndrome”, has wiped out millions of bats on the Atlantic seaboard, Brigham says, adding, it is only a matter of time until the disease makes its way to Western Canada.
Bats also eat their own weight in bugs every single night, why wouldn’t you want some bats hanging around your house and patio, Brigham asks.
If someone wants to bring in more bats they can create habitat for them, even on the bald prairie. Search out bat shelters on the internet and there are many how-to build your own sites. Brigham doesn’t promise bats will find the shelter right away, but after a couple of years a few of them might call it home
Brigham’s next lecture will be at the University of Regina at noon on Thursday in the College Avenue Building, room 106. It will include a slide show, a Q and A, and the public will get to see a live bat thanks to the Saskatchewan Science Centre.