Distribution of bats (Chalinolobus tuberculatus) in the greater Auckland region

Kathy Crewther

Bats are New Zealand’s only native land mammal. One of three species is already thought to be extinct and many remaining populations are under pressure from forest clearance, land development and predation by introduced mammals. Establishing where extant populations are distributed, and why, is important for determining conservation strategies.

 A number of surveys for long-tailed bats (Chalinolobus tuberculatus) have been conducted for Auckland Council but, due to the Auckland region’s size, many areas have not been surveyed. The intention of my research is produce for Council a quantitative model predicting probable long-tailed bat sites. Bat presence from earlier acoustic surveys will be correlated with biophysical and anthropogenic variables such as land cover, forest type and area, and human population density using Geographic Information Systems. Maximum entropy methods will then be used to predict sites where bats are likely to be present, and the model tested by conducting acoustic surveys in high and low probability sites.

Auckland Council is under increasing pressure to permit land development to accommodate the region’s growing population. The information provided by my research will assist by determining areas of high conservation value to protect from development, as well as which areas to target for pest control. 

This research is sponsored by Auckland Council.