A Bat's End

The Christmas Island Pipistrelle and Extinction in Australia

August 2018
More details
  • Publisher
    CSIRO Publishing
  • Published
    7th August 2018
  • ISBN 9781486308637
  • Language English
  • Pages 280 pp.
  • Size 6.625" x 9.625"
  • Images tables & figures

It is the evening of 26 August 2009 on Christmas Island. The last known pipistrelle emerges from its day-time shelter. Scientists, desperate about its conservation, set up a maze of netting to try to catch it. But the bat evades the trap easily, and continues foraging. It is not recorded again that night, and not at all the next night, or ever again. The scientists search all nearby areas over the following nights. It has gone. There are no more bats. It is the silent, unobtrusive death of the last individual. It is extinction.

This book is about that bat, about those scientists, about that island. But mostly it is an attempt to understand that extinction; an unusual extinction, because it was predicted, witnessed and its timing is precise.

A Bat’s End is a compelling forensic examination of the circumstances and players surrounding the extinction of the Christmas Island pipistrelle. A must-read for environmental scientists, policy-makers, and organizations and individuals with an interest in conservation.


• Fascinating forensic examination of the processes and players involved in the extinction of the Christmas Island pipistrelle bat, including personal accounts of ecologists, administrators and politicians

• Considers our relationship with nature, and the extent to which we should and do care for nature

• Uses the Christmas Island pipistrelle bat’s extinction as a case study, from which lessons can be learned that will resonate more broadly

• Examines Australia’s environmental law and policy, and provides recommendations to strengthen these

• Foreword written by Tim Low, renowned Australian environmental consultant and author.

The end
1. Introduction
2. The conservation value and challenge of islands
3. The stage – Christmas Island
4. The unravelling of the Christmas Island environment – change, loss and response
5. The Christmas Island pipistrelle
6. Why did the pipistrelle disappear? – the drivers of extinction
7. Why did the pipistrelle disappear? – management and policy responses and failings
8. Personal perspectives, responses and responsibilities
9. Lessons and generalisations

John C. Z. Woinarski

John C. Z. Woinarski is a Professor of Conservation Biology at Charles Darwin University. He has been engaged in research, management and policy relating to Australian biodiversity for over 40 years. He is the author of A Bat's End, a co-author of Cats in Australia and The Action Plan for Australian Lizards and Snakes 2017, and co-editor of Recovering Australian Threatened Species.