Efforts to save a tiny Christmas Island bat from extinction have hit a setback, with a trial capture program failing.
The Federal Government is considering whether to approve the program for the remaining pipistrelle bats, which are believed to number fewer than 20.
But a trial with similar bats in the Northern Territory found it was nearly impossible to capture them and very difficult to keep them alive in captivity.
Director of National Parks, Peter Cochrane, has told a Senate estimates committee the trial only managed to capture two bats.
“One of those died, so we have one in captivity, which continues to survive but it is being hand-fed,” he said.
Greens Senator Rachel Siewert says the Senate committee was told several other species on Christmas Island are also facing extinction.
“[It] highlights the absolute urgent need for a very significant recovery program,” she said.
“[We need a] multi-species approach, a whole-system approach to Christmas Island.
“Otherwise, we are unfortunately facing extinction of a number of species on Christmas Island.”