From: AAP September 07, 2009
THE Federal Government has spent up to $150,000 in an attempt to catch bats - with nothing to show for it.
The money went towards a program to trap some of the last remaining members of the endangered Christmas Island pipistrelle bat, to establish a captive breeding population.
But the four-week program has ended without the capture of a single bat.
Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett said the bats were too smart for the bat-catchers.
"We knew it was a battle against the odds, as the bats have learned to avoid traps and are very difficult to catch," Mr Garrett said.
Pipistrelle bats are tiny, weighing less than five grams.
Mr Garrett shared the sadness and disappointment of the scientists who had worked so hard to catch a bat.
But it's not all bad news for Christmas Island's animal kingdom.
Researchers have trapped a dozen blue-tailed skinks, another threatened species.
There is to be an aerial attack on the yellow crazy ant, which threatens the island's biodiversity.
More money is also to be spent protecting the migrating red crab.