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  Environment » Natural Resources » Biodiversity » Hamilton's native bats » Hamilton city bat survey 2011-2012

Hamilton city bat survey 2011-2012

Cover page of reportOn this page: about the survey, read the survey

About the survey

Only two bat species are found in New Zealand, long-tailed bats (Chalinolobus tuberculatus) and lesser short-tailed bats (Mystacina tuberculata), which form the entirety of New Zealand’s native terrestrial mammal fauna (O'Donnell, 2005).

Long-tailed bats are a nationally threatened species, with ongoing population declines attributed to the loss and fragmentation of habitats and pest animal (e.g. cats and ship rats) predation and competition. They are strict aerial insectivores that rely on 40 kHz frequency-modulated echolocation calls for navigation and foraging on the wing. Individuals roost in hollows and under split bark typically associated with mature and dead native and exotic trees.

Hamilton is one of the only known cities in New Zealand to still support bats within the city’s urban boundaries. This is despite the Hamilton Ecological District being one of the most degraded in New Zealand with c. 1.6 per cent of the original native vegetation remaining. To date, there has been no single city-wide survey to catalogue bat distribution and identify the factors which may influence this.

The objectives of this study were to:

  • obtain a comprehensive understanding of bat distribution and habitat use patterns in and around Hamilton city
  • develop a comprehensive, publicly accessible online bat distribution map and database
  • determine which landscape features (i.e. habitat type and connectivity) and anthropogenic variables (i.e. housing, roading and street lighting) best explain bat distribution and habitat use patterns; and 
  • provide strategic management recommendations for the ongoing conservation of bats in Hamilton City.

Read the survey

Hamilton city bat survey 2011-2012 (Kessels & Associates Ltd) (1mb)

Table of contents

  Summary 1
1 Introduction 5
2 Methods and materials 2
2.1 Site descriptions 2
2.2 Monitoring design and equipment 3
2.3 Data collection and classification 3
2.4 Statistical analyses 4
3 Results 5
3.1 Presence/absence 5
3.2 Habitat type 5
3.3 Habitat use 6
3.4 Landscape and anthropogenic variables 8
4 Discussion, conclusions and management recommendations 12
5 References 16
6 Acknowledgements 17
7 Appendices 18


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