2 Mar 2023

Bats vs cats

From Our Changing World, 5:00 am on 2 March 2023

A recent survey of the long-tailed bat population in Franklin, south of Auckland, showed there were many more pekapeka than expected. 

Join producer Liz Garton as she heads out on a bat hunt, with the batman Ben Paris and some keen locals. 

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More than half the survey sites in Franklin detected the presence of bats, but these mysterious mammals are not easy to find or spot. 

Pekapeka-tou-roa, or the native long-tailed bat, are a threatened species and they seem to be a tasty treat for all Aotearoa’s introduced pests. 

And a recent DOC study identified cats as some of the worst offenders. 

There is currently no national legislation for managing cats in Aotearoa, but many conservation and animal welfare groups are keen to see a move towards this. 

At an individual level, SPCA science advisor Christine Sumner says keeping your cat home is the solution to keeping native species safe. 

The SPCA have lots of suggestions for keeping your cat happy and still being a responsible cat owner

In Franklin’s Patumahoe, a concerted effort to reduce pest numbers using an award-winning trap has not only improved native bird numbers in the area, but also seems to have had a positive impact on bat numbers. 

Four men stand behind a wire cage trap.

From left to right, Duncan Granshaw, Andrew Sinclair, Ben Paris and Pete Hardy with a smart trap. Photo: Liz Garton / RNZ.

To learn more: 

  • Find out more about Tāmaki Makaurau’s bat population at Auckland Council.

  • This study looks at what is predating on pekapeka.