Te Anau residents witness bats on their doorstep
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionDepartment of Conservation Rangers in Te Anau are more than a little excited by the recent confirmed sighting of long-tailed bats feeding by a street lamp in a residential area of Te Anau Township.
Date: 16 February 2010
Department of Conservation Rangers in Te Anau are more than a little excited by the recent confirmed sighting of long-tailed bats feeding by a street lamp in a residential area of Te Anau Township.
While the thought of bats flying through the garden will send a shiver through some Te Anau residents, the endangered long-tailed bat is now rare or absent at many sites where formally they were common, so this confirmed sighting, along with several other reports around Te Anau, is very encouraging.
“We suspect these bats are roosting in the Kepler Mountains,” Biodiversity Ranger Hannah Edmonds said. “We would like to confirm this by catching some, attaching a transmitter, and then tracking them back to their roosting site”.
This monitoring work will be carried out with the help of funds donated through the Real Journeys Pekapeka/ Bat sponsorship.
As New Zealand’s only land mammal, there are two kinds of bat found here; the long-tailed bat and the lesser short-tailed bat.
“We know these are long-tailed bats because the sightings are at dusk when they emerge to feed. Short-tailed bats emerge only when it is properly dark,” Ms Edmonds said.
The work to discover where they are roosting will be carried out over the next few weeks while it is still warm and the juveniles are flying around.
Once the bat roost has been located, up to one hundred individuals could be found inside Ms Edmonds said. “Long-tailed bats live in family groups. In the Eglinton Valley during the last heavy beech seed (mast) event, rats were most likely the culprit for killing an entire family of long-tailed bats”.
Once rangers have located the roost of these Te Anau bats, they will be able to establish predator protection if necessary.
The recent sighting of bats in the Te Anau township may indicate the positive difference initiatives like the Kepler Challenge Bird Song Project can make. Set up in 2006 by the Kepler Challenge Committee, a trap line around the entire length of the Kepler Track was established to protect the native birds from predation by stoats and rats.
The success of this project is now being built on by the Fiordland Conservation Trust who is seeking funding for their next major project to protect the Kepler Mountains.
“The Kepler area is very special and right here next to the Te Anau township,” said the Trust’s Manager Rachel Cockburn. “We intend to work to help make this whole peninsula a 'mainland island' which would really benefit our endangered species, such as the bats, but also help protect populations of some of our more common species including tuis, bellbirds and fantails."
Fiordland Conservation Trust project: visit Fiordland Conservation Trust website website
Kepler Challenge Bird Song Project: visit Kepler Challenge website