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Ten species of Bats - Advice to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage


Advice to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) on Amendments to the List of Threatened Species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)

1. Scientific name, common name (where appropriate), major taxon group

Action Plan for Australian Bats, specifically:

  • Nyctophilus howensis Lord Howe Long-eared Bat
  • Saccolaimus saccolaimus nudicluniatus Bare-rumped Sheathtail Bat
  • Pipistrellus murrayi Christmas Island Pipistrelle
  • Rhinolophus philippinensis (large form) Greater Large-eared Horseshoe Bat
  • Hipposideros semoni Semon's Leaf-nosed Bat
  • Rhinonicteris aurantius (Pilbara form) Pilbara Leaf-nosed Bat
  • Chalinolobus dwyeri Large-eared Pied Bat
  • Nyctophilus timoriensis (South-eastern form) Eastern Long-eared Bat - Following taxonomic revision, the name of this species as listed under theEPBC Act is now Nyctophilus corbeni (south-eastern long-eared bat) as at 17/08/2011
  • Pteropus brunneus Percy Island Flying-fox
  • Macroderma gigas Ghost Bat
2. International/National Context

The Lord Howe Long-eared Bat and Christmas Island Pipistrelle are endemic to Lord Howe and Christmas Island respectively. The Bare-rumped Sheathtail Bat, Greater Large-eared Horseshoe Bat and Semon's Leaf-nosed Bat extend beyond Australia into Papua New Guinea and South-East Asia. The remaining species are endemic to mainland Australia.

3. How judged by TSSC in relation to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 criteria.

The Bat Action Plan was completed in August 1999. It reviewed the conservation status of Australian bats against the IUCN categories. The TSSC has in principle accepted the methods used in Action Plans and determined the conservation status as appropriate using the information provided in the Action Plan for the preparation of advice under the EPBC Act.

In summary, the Bat Action Plan assessed 10 bats as threatened (Extinct, Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable) and considered two currently listed (Percy Island Flying Fox and Ghost Bat) to be no longer eligible for listing due to taxonomic uncertainty.

Nyctophilus howensis (Lord Howe Long-eared Bat)

Based on evidence presented in the Action Plan for Australian Bats, the Committee determined that Lord Howe Long-eared Bat is eligible for listing as Extinct under the Act. The species meets the criterion in the EPBC Act and Regulations. Which is that a native species is eligible to be included in the extinct category at a particular time if, at that time, there is no reasonable doubt that the last member of the species has died.

The Lord Howe Long-eared Bat is only known from one skull specimen from Lord Howe Island. Since its description, mammologists have searched Lord Howe Island unsuccessfully for this species. On this basis, the Committee recommends that the Nyctophilus howensis (Lord Howe Long-eared Bat) be listed as Extinct.

Saccolaimus saccolaimus nudicluniatus (Bare-rumped Sheathtail Bat)

Based on evidence presented in the Action Plan for Australian Bats, the Committee determined that Bare-rumped Sheathtail Bat is eligible for listing as Critically Endangered under the EPBC Act. The species meets one criterion in the EPBC Act and Regulations.

Criterion 1: It has undergone, is suspected to have undergone or is likely to undergo in the future a very severe reduction in numbers.

On this basis, the Committee recommends that the Saccolaimus saccolaimus nudicluniatus (Bare-rumped Sheathtail Bat) be listed as Critically Endangered.

Pipistrellus murrayi (Christmas Island Pipistrelle)

Based on evidence presented in the Action Plan for Australian Bats, the Committee determined that Christmas Island Pipistrelle is eligible for listing as Endangered under the EPBC Act. The species meets one criterion in the EPBC Act and Regulations.

Criterion 3: The estimated total number of mature individuals is low and evidence suggests that the number will continue to decline at a high rate.

On this basis, the Committee recommends that the Pipistrellus murrayi (Christmas Island Pipistrelle) be listed as Endangered.

Rhinolophus philippinensis (Greater Large-eared Horseshoe Bat)

Based on evidence presented in the Action Plan for Australian Bats, the Committee determined that the Greater Large-eared Horseshoe Bat is eligible for listing as Endangered under the EPBC Act. The species meets one criterion in the EPBC Act and Regulations.

Criterion 3: The estimated total number of mature individuals is low and the number is likely to continue to decline. Its geographic distribution is precarious for its survival.

On this basis, the Committee recommends that the Rhinolophus philippinensis (Greater Large-eared Horseshoe Bat) be listed as Endangered.

Hipposideros semonis (Semon's Leaf-nosed Bat)

Based on evidence presented in the Action Plan for Australian Bats, the Committee determined that the Semon's Leaf-nosed Bat is eligible for listing as Endangered under the EPBC Act. The species meets one criterion in the EPBC Act and Regulations.

Criterion 3: The estimated total number of mature individuals is low and the number is likely to continue to decline. Its geographic distribution is precarious for its survival.

On this basis, the Committee recommends that the Hipposideros semonis (Semon's Leaf-nosed Bat) be listed as Endangered.

Rhinonicteris aurantius (Pilbara Leaf-nosed Bat)

Based on evidence presented in the Action Plan for Australian Bats, the Committee determined that the Pilbara Leaf-nosed Bat is eligible for listing as Vulnerable under the EPBC Act. The species meets three criteria in the EPBC Act and Regulations.

Criterion 1: It has undergone, is suspected to have undergone or is likely to undergo in the immediate future a substantial reduction in numbers;

Criterion 2: Its geographic distribution is precarious for the survival of the species and is limited; and

Criterion 3: The estimated total number of mature individuals is limited and the number is likely to continue to decline. Its geographic distribution is: precarious for its survival.

On this basis, the Committee recommends that the Rhinonicteris aurantius (Pilbara Leaf-nosed Bat) be listed as Vulnerable.

Chalinolobus dwyeri (Large-eared Pied Bat)

Based on evidence presented in the Action Plan for Australian Bats, the Committee determined that the Large-eared Pied Bat is eligible for listing as Vulnerable under the EPBC Act. The species meets two criteria in the EPBC Act and Regulations.:

Criterion 1: It has undergone, is suspected to have undergone or is likely to undergo in the immediate future a substantial reduction in numbers; and

Criterion 3: The estimated total number of mature individuals is limited and evidence suggests that the number will continue to decline at a substantial rate.

On this basis, the Committee recommends that the Chalinolobus dwyeri (Large-eared Pied Bat) be listed as Vulnerable.

Nyctophilus timoriensis (Eastern Long-eared Bat)

Based on evidence presented in the Action Plan for Australian Bats, the Committee determined that the Eastern Long-eared Bat is eligible for listing as Vulnerable under the EPBC Act. The species meets one criterion in the EPBC Act and Regulations.

Criterion 1: It has undergone, is suspected to have undergone or is likely to undergo in the immediate future a substantial reduction in numbers.

On this basis, the Committee recommends that the Nyctophilus timoriensis (Eastern Long-eared Bat) be listed as Vulnerable.

Pteropus brunneus(Percy Island Flying-fox)

The Percy Island Flying Fox, which has been listed as Extinct under the Endangered Species Protection Act 1992, is known from a single specimen collected in 1859. However, there is uncertainty on whether it is Australian in origin and there is also taxonomic uncertainty as it is very similar in appearance to the Little Red Flying-fox (Pteropus scapulatus) with which it could readily be confused. Recent surveys have failed to find any evidence of its existence.

On the basis that this species is not an Australian native species, the Committee considers that there is insufficient evidence to support continued listing as Extinct and recommends delisting.

Macroderma gigas (Ghost Bat)

The Committee recognised that despite prior listing as Vulnerable under the Endangered Species Protection Act 1992 and unequivocal range contraction over the past 200 years, this species could not be matched against any of the criteria to justify listing in a threatened category under the EPBC Act. Further taxonomic work on the species may result in recognition of separate taxa based on genetic variation in the known populations, each of which may then meet the TSSC criteria for listing.

On the basis of available evidence, the Committee considers that the species as currently described should be delisted.

4. Conclusion

The TSSC considers that the bat species listed below meet the criteria for listing in the relevant EPBC Act categories as described in the Bat Action Plan.

5. Recommendation

TSSC recommends that the list referred to in section 178 of the EPBC Act be amended by, including in the list in the Extinct category:

Nyctophilus howensis (Lord Howe Long-eared Bat) including in the list in the Critically Endangered category:
Saccolaimus saccolaimus nudicluniatus (Bare-rumped Sheathtail Bat)

including in the list in the Endangered category:
Pipistrellus murrayi (Christmas Island Pipistrelle),
Rhinolophus philippinensis (large form), Greater Large-eared Horseshoe Bat),and
Hipposideros semoni (Semon's Leaf-nosed Bat)

including in the list in the Vulnerable category:
Rhinonicteris aurantius (Pilbara form), (Pilbara Leaf-nosed Bat),
Chalinolobus dwyeri (Large-eared Pied Bat), and
Nyctophilus timoriensis (South-eastern form), (Eastern Long-eared Bat)

removing from the list:
Pteropus brunneus (Percy Island Flying-fox)
Macroderma gigas (Ghost Bat)

Conservation advice for Rhinonicteris aurantius (Pilbara form) (Pilbara Leaf-nosed Bat)

The Pilbara Leaf-nosed Bat occurs in less than ten localities in the Pilbara and one in the Gascoyne (Rangelands NRM region, Western Australia). There are five known roost sites, all in the east Pilbara consisting of abandoned mines, deep and partially flooded mines and smaller less complex mines and two natural roost sites in the Gascoyne (a cave, and a fissure beneath an ephemeral waterfall, both in Barlee Range National Park).

The key threat to the Pilbara Leaf-nosed Bat is the loss of its remaining roost sites.

The priority recovery and threat abatement actions required for this species are:

  • protect known roost sites within the eastern Pilbara region to ensure mines remain suitable for roosting including possible reinforcement supports in tunnels and chambers, and drainage devices to control flooding;
  • protect the two remaining natural roost sites in the Gascoyne region; and
  • incorporate conservation measures into relevant Park Management Plans.
This list does not encompass all actions that may be of benefit to this species, but highlights those that are considered to be of the highest priority at the time of listing. Longer term issues that should be considered in broader landscape, regional and or recovery planning include suitable conservation reserves, incorporating conservation measures into ongoing mining operations, and establishing additional natural roost sites.

An Action Plan for Australian Bats was completed in 1999. No Recovery Plan is currently in place for the Pilbara Leaf-nosed Bat.

Priority for the development of recovery plan: Low

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BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats: Ten species of Bats - Advice to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Ten species of Bats - Advice to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
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BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats
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