Bat symposium headed for Hamilton

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The long-tailed bat, one of our only two remaining species of native terrestrial mammals in New Zealand. Photo / Gerard Kelly
The long-tailed bat, one of our only two remaining species of native terrestrial mammals in New Zealand. Photo / Gerard Kelly

Bat enthusiasts will be flocking to a special symposium in Hamilton this coming Sunday.

A bat symposium is being held at Claudelands during the first day of the Ecology & Restoration Australasia (ERA2016) conference, which runs from November 19-23.

The conference is the first joint one between New Zealand and Australian ecological societies, and will include delegates from a broad range of universities, organisations, governments, and volunteer groups.

Project Echo, the local bat advocacy group - established by Waikato Regional Council, Hamilton City Council and the Riverlea Environment Society - is hosting the symposium.

The group's representatives will be on site to give an update on recent native bat developments in the city.

Hamilton City Council's community planting co-ordinator Gerard Kelly will talk about his involvement in Project Echo and how it has been inspiring many young people to explore the city's gullies and roosting bat populations.

"Hamilton is the perfect place to host this symposium because it is one of the few cities in New Zealand to still support a resident population of long-tailed bats.

"With the help of the local community, we have been working hard to gather information on bat populations throughout the city," Kelly said.

"Now we've started to focus our efforts on protecting trees where bats roost, and targeted pest animal control in selected parks in the city."

Symposium delegates will get a chance to encounter bats in real life during a number of field trips, to the Pureora Forest, Pukemokemoke Reserve and Hammond Bush.

For bat enthusiasts unable to attend the conference, Waikato Museum will be offering bat encounters for members of the public next year.

Various staff from Waikato Regional Council will be at the conference sharing their experience on environmental restoration.

Ecologist Dr Yanbin Deng will talk about how to enhance the resilience of Kahikatea forest remnants in the Waikato region, while senior biodiversity officer Dr Andrea Julian will explain how she prioritises sites for possum control.

- For more information about the ERA2016 conference and bat symposium, visit www.era2016.com.

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