National recovery plan for the Christmas Island Pipistrelle Pipistrellus murrayi
Prepared by Martin Schulz and Linda F. Lumsden
Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2004
ISBN 0 642 55012 3
The Christmas Island Pipistrelle Pipistrellus murrayi is a small (weight 3-4.5 g) insectivorous bat that is considered by most authorities to be endemic to Christmas Island. Until recently it was considered widespread and common across the island (Tidemann 1985). Surveys in 1994 and 1998, indicated that this species had declined and contracted westwards in range. For example, the species was formerly commonly observed flying about the Settlement. The 1994 and 1998 surveys did not detect the species in this area (Lumsden & Cherry 1997, Lumsden et al. 1999). This decline is reflected in the species being listed in 'The Action Plan for Australian Bats' as Endangered following IUCN criteria (Duncan et al. 1999), and as Endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The threatening processes causing the decline of this species are unknown. The primary objectives of this Recovery Plan are to: a) determine the threatening processes responsible for the decline in the species, b) maximise the opportunity for the viability of the species in the wild; and c) clarify its taxonomic status.
Most of the information presented in this Recovery Plan on the distribution, abundance and ecology of the Christmas Island Pipistrelle is the result of three studies: Tidemann (1985), Lumsden & Cherry (1997), Lumsden et al. (1999). In recent years additional surveys have been undertaken on the pipistrelle as part of environmental impact statements (M. Bamford and G. Richards, pers. comm.). At the time of writing this Plan, one report (Bamford & Bamford 2002) was available for inclusion. The other studies have not yet been released into the public domain, and hence unfortunately could not be incorporated into the plan.