Lincoln University summer scholar Karina Hadden is preparing to comb Banks Peninsula for long-tailed bats and hopes members of the public can help with possible sightings.
She will place monitors at a range of sites to find out how many – if any – bats are present in the area, as there have been potential sightings in recent years after decades of no reported signs.
The University is running the project with the Department of Conservation (DOC), the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust (BPCT) and the Christchurch City Council (CCC).
Locals are encouraged to help out by reporting any previous potential sightings to DOC.
Lincoln University ecology tutor and project co-ordinator Mike Bowie says long-tailed bats were abundant in Canterbury until 1885, with many roosting under wooden bridges across the Avon River in Christchurch. However, by 1930, forest clearance and introduced predators had reduced them to isolated pockets.
“The last bat recorded on Banks Peninsula was in 1963. The most recent survey in the area took place in the 1990s and no bats were found, but several potential sightings have been recorded since then.
“The isolated geography of the area makes it a great candidate for finding a remnant population.”
Mr Bowie says knowing the abundance and distribution of endemic species on Banks Peninsula is important for their conservation.
DOC will provide Karina with 20-50 monitors to set up along the edges of forest reserves, covenanted land and waterways. After two weeks, she will collect them for processing.
“We produced a list of potential sites for bat monitoring in advance and qualified experts from DOC, the BPCT and the CCC have added to it,” says Mr Bowie. “We have also included a list of sites that were visited during the previous survey in the 1990s.”
Karina will follow up any acoustic bat recordings with further surveys to verify the recordings and investigate the distribution of calls.
A positive detection may then require DOC to attempt to catch the bats and attach transmitters to the animals in an effort to locate a roost.
Results will be documented in a Lincoln University Wildlife Management report and added to DOC’s national bat database, with a geographic information system used to map the surveyed locations.
* Locals should report any potential bat sightings to DOC Technical Advisor Moira Pryde. Email email@example.com