Long-tailed bats who live around Hamilton’s Hammond Park will have a new home to trial this summer.
Under Project Echo, which is working to protect these native creatures, a new trial box is being installed shortly that can house up to 100 bats.
The installation is designed to help the bats get around the problem of finding a suitable “natural” place to live.
The design for the prototype box replicates a plan by Bat Conservation International, which has also provided Project Echo with funding for long-tailed bat education, research and conservation initiatives in Hamilton.
“Bat boxes have been found to be very successful in overseas conservation efforts. To have the funding and support from Bat Conservation International is quite an honour and puts Hamilton’s long-tailed bats on the map,” said Environment Waikato biodiversity officer Ben Paris (pictured in attached file with box).
Mr Paris said the main threat to bats is habitat destruction. “Bats like to roost in the cavities of old or dead trees which means there aren’t always many natural homes for them. These types of box may provide a home for the bats until more suitable natural roosts can be found.”
Hammond Park is a popular place for bats to “hang out” as it is thought they use the open areas by the river to catch their insect prey, like moths and midges.
“We hope that placing bat boxes in this area will mean that more bats may choose to roost there. If this initial trial box works, we could have roost boxes set up all over the city to help the bats establish in new areas”
Mr Paris is encouraging Hamilton residents to learn more about the long-tailed bats and is leading three bat spotting expeditions or “walks” during the school holidays in conjunction with the Waikato Museum. “The bat spotting walks will take place in Hammond Park and only take about 15-20 minutes. We will take a special bat detector out to help us spot some bats. It will be a great holiday activity for the kids. People can also borrow bat detectors from Riverlea Environment Society if they want to go bat spotting in their own backyard or gully.”
For more information about the bat walks visit http://www.waikatomuseum.co.nz/events/pageid/2145864031/Bat_Spotting(external link)_
For more information about Project Echo visit www.ew.govt.nz/projectecho(external link)