4 Feb 2013

Bats found on D'Urville Island

11:07 pm on 4 February 2013

The future of the native long-tailed bat is more hopeful after a major discovery in the Marlborough Sounds.

Hundreds of the mammals have been found on D'Urville Island.

The discovery by the Royal Forest Bird Protection Society of New Zealand has led to calls to make all the island predator-free.

A third of D'Urville Island is Conservation land, which is free of possums and ship rats.

Forest Bird says 10 colonies of long-tailed bats are known to remain on the South Island mainland, with total numbers fewer than 5000, and declining.

Residents and iwi are expected to meet the Department of Conservation in coming months to discuss how to handle the future of the bats.