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Bats, man! Kaipaitangata colony confirmed

The confirmation of a colony of endangered native bats in Kaipaitangata has thrilled conservationists.

The population of long-tailed bats – otherwise known as Chalinolobus tuberculatus, or pekapeka-tou-roa in Māori – was found in the Kaipaitangata area late last year by the parks and reserves team of Carterton District Council [CDC] and the South Wairarapa Inc. Bat Group.

CDC chief executive Geoff Hamilton said that bat activity in the area has been suspected for some time.

“To have bats in the Kaipaitangata is really exciting,” he told a council meeting last week at which concerns were raised about the public trying to find the colony and disturbing the bats in the process.

Mayor Ron Mark commented that it’d be undesirable for “a whole lot of people going up there”.

A report from the Bat Group advised on how to protect the bats in the area, including further monitoring, pest control, and bat-friendly forest management.

CDC has made a commitment to work closely with local groups for the benefit of the colony.

“We’re excited and delighted our district is home to our nation’s only endemic mammal and we will work closely with local interest groups to step up our pest management control in the area to give the bats the best chance of success,” the council said in a statement.

New Zealand currently has two endemic species of bats, with a third species having been declared extinct in 1965.

All bats are fully protected under the Wildlife Act, which prohibits hunting, capturing or interfering with protected species.

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