New Zealand’s annual Bird of The Year award

An independent conservation organisation in New Zealand, Forest & Bird, organised its annual Bird of The Year Award, recently.

Highlights

  • In the year 2021, the annual bird of the year award was won by Pekapeka-tou-roa, which is a native bat species of New Zealand.
  • The species was made the winner in competition, despite not being a bird.

Why was a bat species allowed to enter?

Pekapeka-tou-roa is also known as long-tailed bat. It is one among New Zealand’s two land mammals. This species of bat was added to the Bird of the Year list by Forest and Bird as these species of bat as well as native birds are threatened by the same problems like habitat loss, predators and climate change. Thus, the first time in 2021, the organisation has let a native mammal to enter the competition.

About New Zealand’s long-tailed bat

New Zealand’s long-tailed bat is among two surviving species which are endemic or native to New Zealand. They can be found throughout the mainland as well as on some offshore islands in the country. This species is a small-sized bat comprising of a long tail. New Zealand’s long-tailed bat is associated to five other wattled or lobe-lipped bats in Australia.

Conservation Status

As per New Zealand Department of Conservation, long-tailed bats are classified as ‘nationally critical’ while the short-tailed bat subspecies are classified as ‘nationally vulnerable’ to ‘recovering’. However, they are in danger of extinction if they are not protected.

Bird of the Year competition

Bird of the Year competition was started by ‘Forest and Bird organisation’ to raise awareness on native wildlife of New Zealand, their habitats & threats they face.

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