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Published: 2004-05-31 00:00:00

Environment Waikato has granted $5000 from its Environmental Initiative Fund towards research that will help threatened long-tailed bats in Hamilton and surrounding areas.

PhD student Andrea Dekrout is working on a research programme to help restore bats to urban and agricultural areas where native habitat has been lost.

The long-tailed bats are one of only two native New Zealand mammals. Many areas where the bats had been noted in groups of hundreds or thousands are now virtually devoid of bats and long-tailed bats are generally rare throughout the country.

The project would ascertain the population status, habitat use and physiological condition of the bat in the Waikato and compare urban and rural populations. DoC strongly supports the proposal and would provide equipment and technical support.

Ultimately the research would help create opportunities for people to have the rare species in “their own backyard”, contributing to general environmental awareness and conservation efforts. Volunteers will help with fieldwork and public education talks.