Community Waitakere - Auckland, New Zealand

Community Waitakere, thanks to funding from the Waitakere Ranges Local Board, are helping to shine a light on one of our lesser known, rare creatures – the pekapeka tou roa (long-tailed bats).  

 

 

Every year during late summer, Community Waitakere run the ever-so-popular “Hikoi o nga pekapeka” bat walks. These walks provide a great opportunity for families to explore the ngahere at night and learn more about some of the weird and wonderful creatures that live there. If we are lucky we might even hear a pekapeka tou roa on our hand-held bat monitors!

 

 

Like our facebook page for more information on these free walks- they fill up quickly!

 

 

Through our work with AECOM we’ve also been monitoring bat populations in Te Wao Nui o Tiriwa/ the Waitakere Ranges to try and better understand the population that lives there.

 

Check out this YOUTUBE Video

 

Did you know we have three species of pekapeka in Aotearoa – although one is thought to be extinct. It’s our only native mammal. Tamaki Makaurau/ Auckland plays home to the pekapeka tou roa – a tiny creature that’s as big as your thumb, wing span the size of your hand, and weighs as much as a couple of two dollar coins.

 

Download our cool bat poster

 

Sadly, the pekapeka are critically endangered, like the kakapo, and the population is forecast to drop 70 per cent over the next few years. This is because they face four key threats:

  1. Predators – used to be mainly ruru, morepork. NOW: wasps, stoats, ferrets, rats, cats and possums.
  2. Removal of old trees
  3. Kauri dieback – like to snuggle under the loose bark of large kauri and
  4. Poor stream quality – where their food lives, insects.

 

The good news is that there’s lots we can do to support our pekapeka including:

  1. Download our cool poster and share it with your school and your friends!
  2. Sign up for one of our awesome bat walks held in late summer
  3. Borrow bat detectors from Auckland Council Biodiversity and go and find new places where bats are frequenting.
  4. Get involved in local stream restoration – making our streams healthy by planting, cleaning up and creating a nice habitat for pekapeka and their food the insects.
  5. Keep your trees! Don’t cut down big trees on your properties - bats love big, old trees to roost in.
  6. Pest control – help to get rid of pests like rats, stoats and wasps. Check out Predator Free NZ for groups to join

 

If you would like any information about pekapeka, or our pekapeka project, please contact Sophie Barclay, Citizen Science Coordinator on sophie@communitywaitakere.org.nz.