Short-tailed bats to be transferred to Kapiti Island, New Zealand

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Thursday, February 3, 2005

Tararua Ranges, New Zealand – In an attempt at a world first twenty short-tailed bats are to be moved by the New Zealand Department of Conservation from the Tararua Ranges to Kapiti Island. If the transfer to predator-free Kapiti works, it will become the first time that bats have ever been trans-located.

All previous attempts at moving bats have failed due to their natural homing instincts. However scientists with the Department of Conservation, are aiming to overcome this by shifting juveniles. The young bats, which weigh in at only 14 grams each, were born in the week around New Year and were raised at Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre near Eketahuna.

Conservation Minister Chris Carter said that while the trial was risky, it was also worthwhile. "A willingness to push boundaries and try new things is exactly what conservation in New Zealand needs," he said.

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