Keeping an ear out for the Pilbara leaf-nosed bat

Martu rangers have been working on bat monitoring – deploying song meters at Karlamilyi National Park and collecting the recordings for analysis.

Eight species of echolocating bat were detected, including the Pilbara leaf-nosed bat (Rhinonicteris aurantia); a vulnerable species under federal and state legislation!  

Identifying their presence means KJ can add them to the growing list of threatened species on Martu country and form management plans for their ultimate survival.

The metres were left in the field for over six months previous, across three locations. These were placed at two permanent water holes and the third in a cave entrance:

  1. Lower pool at Desert Queen Baths

  2. Cave entrance near Desert Queen Baths’ second pool; and

  3. Kalkun Kalkun rock hole.

The pattern of detection (see figure in gallery) indicates the Pilbara leaf-nosed bat is permanently present in the park and there may be at least two roosts.

The rangers’ next visit is planned before summer temperatures and rainfall make access to the sites difficult.

Here they’ll continue to monitor all species, including Gould’s wattled bat; Little broad-nosed bat; Lumsden’s free-tailed bat; and the Northern free-tailed bat – just to name a few!

Technical thanks to R. “Batman” Bullen from Bat Call for analysis and reporting.

Zan King