We’re a division belonging to the Royal Botanic Gardens of Melbourne called Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology. We’ve been conducting the counts since the bats arrived at the Botanic Gardens in 1984, which makes it part of the longest-running monitoring program of any bat colony in the world, reaching its 20th year of monthly surveys in 2013.
This data is critical for monitoring the size and health of the colony. Numbers vary seasonally as more than half of the local population migrates north each winter as food availability changes. This affects the movements of the entire species up and down the east coast of Australia. The data we collect is also shared with Government Departments involved in management of the species and its habitat.
Over the years, thousands of volunteers have contributed thousands of hours towards monitoring the size of the colony, which provides vital information essential to management of the species. We’re always looking for new volunteers and all this couldn’t have been possible with them so we are extremely lucky and grateful for all their help.