As you may know, New Zealand is a country without mammals. Except, that is, for seals and bats. There are two tiny species of bats in New Zealand, and they are not very good at flying. They are easily caught by cats and other predators. So, it is very unusual to see a bat here, and usually, they can only be found deep in the bush.
But recently, bats have begun to move into urban areas. This may be because more people are planting gardens that resemble bush, and people are keeping old, dead trees instead of clearing them away. Old, dead trees provide a home for some rare New Zealand insects, and also bats.
Long-tailed bats have been found in West Auckland, Hamilton, and most recently, Rotorua.
The bats were discovered in West Auckland in 2017. The suburbs of West Auckland are close to the Waitakere Ranges, where many bats live in the bush. So this suggests that their population in the bush is increasing. This is probably because government conservation workers have been controlling the population of rats and wild cats.
Bats were also discovered living in the Narrows Park Christian Camp near Hamilton last year. This is surprising because the camp is nowhere near any bush. Although it has lots of big old trees, it is surrounded by grassy farmlands. Remember that New Zealand bats aren’t very good at flying. They cannot fly far, and it is strange for them to be so far away from their natural habitat.
The reason this topic is in the news this week is because there has been a third discovery of urban bats in New Zealand, at the Sanatorium Reserve inside Rotorua city. People have been working together to restore this land so that native birds and plants can live there, but it has been a pleasant surprise to find bats living in this park.
mammal – an animal that can make milk
species – a kind of animal. e.g.: a rat is one species, a cat is another species
predator – an animal that hunts
urban – inside the city
resemble – look like
conservation – the work of protecting native habitats and wildlife
nowhere near – far away from
habitat – the place where a species naturally lives
reserve – a small, natural park
restore – work to make something like it was in the past
Note: “that is” is used to clarify a fact.