Auckland’s thumb-sized, adorable, and furry pekapeka-tou-poto and pekapeka-tou-roa bats are now officially endangered! Auckland Council has recently classified these species as vulnerable in the region.
These are the first bats to be assessed using the Department of Conservation’s threat classification system. The northern lesser short-tailed bat is only found on Little Barrier Island, while the long-tailed bat is present in various locations across the region.
Unfortunately, the bats are facing a severe threat from habitat loss, human impact, and climate change. Auckland Council regional biodiversity adviser Jacinda Woolly explained that more information was needed to protect these amazing creatures effectively.
“Their population will continue to decline if their key threats are left unmanaged at roost sites, and the potential rate of that decline is of concern,” she said.
To address these concerns, the council has been collaborating with community groups and mana whenua to monitor pekapeka and is prioritizing conservation efforts based on this assessment.
In 2021, the long-tailed bat was named the bird of the year in a public competition where voters picked their favourite birds.