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New Zealand Greater Short-tailed Bat

scientific name: Mystacina robusta

Last seen: 1967 in New Zealand

Years lost: 52

If the New Zealand Greater Short-tailed Bat still exists, it could be the come-back kid. This species—one of three of New Zealand’s bat species—vanished from New Zealand’s North and South islands following European arrival some 200 years ago. It was subsequently restricted to small predator-free islands until rats were accidentally introduced in 1963. Because this bat species spends an unusual amount of time on the ground, it’s especially susceptible to rats, and the introduction of the invasive pest devastated the bat’s remaining population. Rats have since been eradicated from both Big South Cape and neighboring Putauhina Island, which has led to several unconfirmed sightings in both places. And in 1999, Mystacina-like echolocation calls were recorded from Putauhina.