State Government funds microbats program

South Perth MLA John McGrath has welcomed State Government funding of $6,027 to trace the movements of microbats in the area.

The funding will enable the City of South Perth to purchase a bat detector for mobile tracking of the tiny flying mammals and the recording and storing of bat calls to identify different species.

The city has been working with a group of students from Aquinas College to help protect the microbats, which are native to WA.

Mr McGrath congratulated the Aquinas students who have contributed to the project by making 18 boxes to house the bats. The boxes have been placed in trees at McDougall Park, Waterford and Clontarf. Each box can potentially house up to 200 bats.

“With this funding the movements of the bats can now be tracked and monitored,” he said.

Mr McGrath joined with the Minister for Environment, Hon Donna Faragher, at McDougall Park to hand over a cheque to City of South Perth councillor Pete Best.

The Minister said the grant to the City of South Perth was part of an allocation of more than $277,000 for a range of community-based conservation and environment projects in Perth’s southern suburbs.

Mr McGrath said the tiny bats grow to just 13 grams at full size and can live for up to 25 years. However, their natural habitat had been largely removed by urbanisation. “This project can provide a suitable alternative,” he said.

Mr McGrath said the bats can be effective in controlling mosquitos and flying insects. “A bat can eat up to 1000 mosquitos per night,” he said.

Mr McGrath said he could see the potential of the bats in helping to reduce the mosquito population around the Waterford area.

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