Bats are back after OSPRI clears pests from Aorangi Forest

Date 13 March 2020

The detection of rare long-tailed bats in the Aorangi bush is showing the benefits of TBfree possum control operations in the southern North Island.

In a recent long-term study by Victoria University scientists supported by OSPRI, the critically endangered pekapeka tou roa (long-tailed bat) sonically detected in the Wairarapa’s Aorangi Forest Park forest. OSPRI has delivered two out of three large-scale aerial 1080 operations in a 10-year project aimed at reducing the number of possums, stoats and rats over about 36,000 hectares of the Aorangi Forest Park and surrounding private farmland.

The long-tailed bat is on the verge of extinction. Like itsshort-tailed cousin, pekapeka and their young are vulnerable to predators and to the degradation their habitat by possums.

In an article published on stuff.co.nz this week, OSPRI’s Aerial Operations Coordinator Debbie Viner, who ran operations in 2014 and 2017, said: "It’s fantastic to see these results are now being studied, and it shows that we are getting benefits from the reduction of some predators."

Read the full article here.

Pekapeka short tailed bat