Cotton bags containing short-tailed bats (image: Alison Ballance), and a short-tailed bat with one wing unfurled (image: Hannah Edmonds, DoC).
As part of Operation Ark, a number of native animals in the Eglinton Valley are being monitored to see how their populations are holding up. Short-tailed bats are being fitted with microchip transponders by a Department of Conservation 'bat team' led by scientists Jane Sedgeley and Colin O'Donnell.
There are two surviving species of bats in New Zealand: long-tailed bats and the lesser short-tailed bat. The greater short-tailed bat became extinct in the early 1960s when rats reached Big South Cape Island, their only surviving refuge. The bats and a mysterious fossil mammal nicknamed the 'waddling mouse' are the only known terrestrial mammals recorded from New Zealand.
Department of Conservation bat team removing short-tailed bats from a harp trap (image R. Ewans, DoC).