This project is designed to provide habitat for up to 15 species of microbat through the installation of roosting boxes, the provision of future habitat through tree and shrub planting, and also aims to increase community awareness.
Microbats play an important role in ecosystem services by eating a variety of insects, many of which are pests to people and livestock such as mosquitoes, moths, beetles, caterpillars and termites. On a single night, microbats can eat up to 40% of their own body weight.
Microbats are facing the same threats that many other woodland species face - habitat loss and fragmentation. In 2014, Young District Landcare received funding from Riverina Local Land Services to undertake our project, Microbats in the Young Shire. The project is designed to provide habitat for up to 15 species of microbat through the installation of roosting boxes, the provision of future habitat through tree and shrub planting, and also aims to increase community awareness.
To date, the project has achieved many milestones. We have installed 140 microbat roosting boxes at various locations across Young. Planting days at Chance Gully and Burrandong Creek have provided future habitat, and a plant giveaway donated 1000 trees and shrubs to the Young Community. Four interpretive signs have been installed at public locations and a factsheet Wildlife of the Young Shire was produced.
We also held ‘Bat Night’ with an expert speaker that provided information on microbats and included a walk along Burrandong Creek where a demonstration was provided using an Anabat detector. Anabat detectors monitor the echolocation calls of bats to determine species identification. Further funding allowed Young District Landcare to purchase two Anabat detectors and provide training to 10 of our members to enable ongoing monitoring of the roosting boxes.
We have achieved a high level of engagement with the Young community over the course of this project. Our involvement with 10 schools in the Shire has been ongoing, and our interpretive signs at various points in Young have been well received. Improved understanding about the importance of microbats for biodiversity is evident with the high landholder turnout that has occurred at all our microbat events.