Date: 19 January 2009
The Department of Conservation is investigating a cluster of short-tailed bat deaths in the Pureora Forest Park area.
About 70 native short-tailed bats have been found dead or dying at the site of a single roost tree. Monitoring this week following the discovery of the dead bats indicates that at least 400 healthy bats continue to use the roost, which is one of 11 known sites used by the colony.
DOC area manager Ray Scrimgeour says a ground-based pest control operation using an anti-coagulant toxin targeting rats is underway in the forest but it is unclear at this stage if the poison is behind the bat deaths, or whether they may have picked up some disease. He says the bats have been sent for autopsy and detailed results are expected in about two weeks.
“This forest is an area of high biodiversity value where the bats, as well as the native parasitic plant, Dactylanthus taylorii, kaka, kakariki and other bird species are all susceptible to predation by rats and other animal pests.”
Ray Scrimgeour says the pest control operation has been in progress for three months but post mortems on the bats found this week indicate the deaths have occurred only within the past fortnight.
“Staff have taken a precautionary approach and removed all toxin baits from the area while waiting for the toxicology results.”
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