15 Dec 2018

Wasps among predators threatening the survival of NZ bats - Forest and Bird

3:19 pm on 15 December 2018

A conservationist working to preserve the critically endangered New Zealand long-tailed bats says the species is close to extinction.

Native NZ Bat

Native NZ Bat Photo: Kerry Borkin

Debs Martin, a regional manager for Forest and Bird, has been working on bat conservation for more than a decade.

Debs Martin

Debs Martin Photo: supplied

She says the bats are now rated as critically endangered, with the population forecast to drop by 70 percent over the next few years.

While the cutting back of forests in the 19th and 20th centuries remains a major factor, the main problem today is predators.

"It's predation from your raft of stoats, rats and possums, but also cats and at the top of the South Island as well there are wasps. We're increasingly worried about their impact on bats as well," Ms Martin says.

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