Flying fox seen at the Cooks River Eco Festival

Today is Threatened Species Day.

To commemorate Threatened Species Day the Queensland government has allowed the shooting of flying foxes from today, including the Grey-headed flying fox & the Spectacled flying fox, listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the Federal Government.

An article in the Courier Mail says, “An annual quota of 10,580 will be set for four species. The kill will be 4,000 little reds, 3,500 blacks, 1,280 grey headed & 1,800 spectacled flying foxes.”

Just how is the Queensland government going to police this?

The article also says that any lactating mothers killed will be leaving their baby back at camp to slowly starve to death.  The Spectacled flying fox gives birth to one baby between October & December.

The Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry says on their webpage, ‘The role of flying foxes in Hendra virus,’ that –

“Although Hendra virus infection occurs naturally in flying foxes, culling of specific colonies is not an effective Hendra virus risk management strategy, because flying foxes continually move from one colony to another.  Any colony acts similar to a motel – most individuals only stay a day or two, some stay a week or two, a few stay a month or more.

Flying foxes are protected species, critical to our environment, as they pollinate our native trees & spread seeds. Without flying foxes, we wouldn’t have our eucalypt forests, rainforests & melaleucas

There are more effective steps people can take to reduce the risk of Hendra virus infection in horses & in people.   Dispersing or culling flying foxes could worsen the problem.”

This excellent 2-page document written by Dr Martin Cohen for Cairns Regional Council tackles the strange myths held by many in the community about flying foxes.

5 points from the document say flying foxes –

  • “Are extremely important to maintaining biodiversity in Australian forests.
  • Have the ability to crosspollinate over great distances & carry fruit & seeds far away from parent trees.
  • Are the main pollinators of many native Australian trees as they carry pollen on their fur to other flowers.
  • Are vital to the continued survival of many rainforest trees as they eat the fruit & spit the seeds out at other places.
  • Better bat education is an essential solution to the communities perceived bat problems.”