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Endangered bats ‘an exciting find’

AN endangered species of bat classed as “nationally critical” has been found at two locations around Gisborne.

It’s been called an “exciting find” by the Gisborne District Council magazine Conservation Quorum.

The study found long-tailed bats at at the Makaretu Stream and on the Wharekopae River, both areas with riparian native forest.

Bats are New Zealand’s only native land mammals, of which there were once three species; the long-tailed bat, the lesser short-tailed bat, and the greater short-tailed bat.

The greater short-tailed bat is thought to be extinct.

The long-tailed bat is classed as ‘nationally critical’, while the short-tailed bat subspecies range from ‘nationally vulnerable’ to ‘recovering’.

They are in danger of extinction in the medium term if nothing is done to reverse the decline in their populations. These species are a high priority for conservation.

As part of the Wharekopae River Restoration Project, monitoring of bats was done by the community with help from the Department of Conservation.

The bat monitors were set overlooking the Wharekopae River in areas of low water movement.

Once set, the monitors will pick up calls at different frequencies.

The monitors used are tuned to 40 kHz to pick up calls of long-tailed bats and 28 KHz to pick up calls of lesser short-tailed bats.

With this exciting find, more surveys are planned to try to identify where exactly the bats are living.

GOING BATTY: Long-tailed bats have been found at the Makaretu Stream and on the Wharekopae River in the Ngatapa area. Long-tailed bats are classed as nationally critical. Picture supplied
Short Tailed Bat