As New Zealand's only native land mammals, the bats of the South Island are scheduled to receive additional funding from the Conservation Community Partnership Fund.
The funding will be granted to Forest & Bird, New Zealand's largest independent conservation organisation, for its TeHoiere Bat Recovery Project. The project is based at Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve in Marlborough and will receive $113,600 over three years to enhance protection for bats in Marlborough and around the top of the South Island.
TeHoiere Bat Recovery Project will put the funds toward extending their protection and monitoring programmes. Two species of bats live at Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve, the short-tailed and long-tailed bats. The declining population of these bats is a result of non-native mammals that were brought to New Zealand by humans, such as rats, stoats, and cats. Without protection, it is predicted that bats on the South Island will become extinct within 50 years.
"Not only do Forest & Bird contribute to a range of outstanding restoration projects in the region, but the additional capacity provided by this significant funding boost from the Ministry's Conservation Community Partnership Fund, enables us to make a big difference in protecting our threatened animals and places," said Debs Martin, Forest & Bird's Regional Conservation and Volunteer Manager.
Forest & Bird will appoint a project manager to take on new roles within the project. These roles include aiding to expand their predator control unit, work closely with iwi to create and develop a community education package, and to restore the Pelorus catchment habitat.