Auckland Bat Man and bat expert Ben Paris gave our volunteers an insight into bats, and showed us how to look, or actually: listen, for our long tailed bats (tourua peka peka) with the latest in bat detectors. Shiny new ‘bat loggers’, courtesy of Community Waitakere through the targeted rate for the environment, were taken out of their boxes and placed in the outdoors for the very first time.

We know there are bats in the Cascades (now closed due to kauri dieback). The past two years teams have captured bats to add a transmitter and followed them through the night to see where they went. As long tailed bats only stay in a roost site for a couple of days, it is quite hard to find them! So to enable efficient capture for next time, it would be good to know where a lot of bats hang out…

The scientific question behind this is that we’d like to find out how far north “our” Cascade bats venture. Years ago bats were detected in Riverhead forest, but we don’t know if they are ‘our’ bats moving that way, and if so: what path they travel to get there.

After the first week of testing the bat loggers, bats were heard on 4 out of 5 sites, which is a great result. Next weeks we’ll try other sites to get more familiar with the equipment, get better at scoping sites with high potential (large old trees, water, a clearing) and using the software.

It’s great to add to the knowledge of our biodiversity, especially in the case of this tiny beautiful intriguing creature we know so little about.

Annalily & the trustees

All images by our voluntary professional photographer Jacqui Geux – thank you!