You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘flying fox facts’ tag.

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.”   http://bit.ly/RfKayH

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.”  http://bit.ly/P0TMdj

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.  http://bit.ly/NfuIAT

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.”

 

Advertisements

The arrows point to rows of barbed wire fencing off the railway corridor at the back of Tillman Park Sydenham & in the background, at Frazer Park Marrickville. The large railway corridor here & the 2 parks have been identified as high biodiversity value

Earlier this week I watched a program on Channel 6 about a flying fox rehabilitation centre.  Unfortunately, I did not catch their name.  As with most programs on Channel 6, this was a simple documentary, the camera fixed on a woman who spoke about the work of the rehab centre with shots of the bats she was talking about.  The scene was a large aviary where flying foxes of all ages were being rehabilitated for release back into the wild.  A few bats had been so badly injured that they will remain at the rehab centre for life & are used as educational bats when speaking to groups.  They can’t fly.  One of these bats was at the Eco Festival on the Cooks River last year.

Some facts about flying foxes discussed on this program –

  • Flying foxes are playful, cheeky creatures that enjoy interacting with humans when in care.
  • They have close friendships with each other. Two bats that were tagged with consecutive numbers before release found themselves coming back into care a couple of years later showing that they had remained together since their release.
  • Staff members have come to work to find an injured bat waiting outside the aviary.  Checking their tags they found the bats, for there have been a few, knew where to come if they were injured.  Now that is smart.
  • Bats are not just flying around indiscriminately with a few thousand others. They are families, pairs & groups of friends who sleep together & forage for food together during the night.

The good thing is the new tree planted in Tillman Park recently. The bad thing is the barbed wire along the goods line. Two sides of Tillman Park has barbed wire fencing

What made me decide to write a post about this program was that the woman being interviewed said there were 2 main reasons why flying foxes get injured.  The first is barbed wire, which is often placed near a Eucalyptus or Bottle Brush tree. The bats come to feed on the flower nectar, don’t see the barbed wire & tear their wings.  Many bats are still alive when you see them tangled in barbed wire. They stay still because they are in pain. People who see them think they are dead & the bat ends up suffering a long, slow & painful death.  So if you see a flying fox in this condition, it is well worth ringing a wildlife rescue organization that will remove the bat if it is dead & rescue it if it is still alive.  Barbed wire injuries often mean that a bat cannot fly again & many are so badly injured that they need to be euthanized.

How I hate barbed wire & razor wire.  I’ve seen more of the stuff in Sydenham seeming to protect something belonging to Railcorp.  The back fence at Tillman Reserve & the border of the goods line is barbed wire as well.  Tillman Park & this section of Railcorp land is viewed as a prime biodiversity corridor so hopefully Marrickville Council will convince Railcorp to remove the barbed wire in these areas.

It’s crazy to plant to increase biodiversity & then surround the area with an invisible obstacle course that that has the high potential of severely injuring the very wildlife you are encouraging.  People know how to get through or over barbed wire & razor wire anyway so it is entirely unnecessary.

Even the Department of Corrective Services is removing barbed wire from the prison walls & is using slip-rollers instead. If the prisons can remove barbed & razor wire, surely the Council, Railcorp & other organizations around the locality can do the same.  How long before a kid gets hurt?

The second main cause of injury is fruit tree netting because people sling the net loosely over the tree. Loose netting means that bats as well as birds are very likely to become entangled in the net.  Netting causes deep wounds & severe burns to the skin of a bat. A tangled, trapped bat or a bird is also very difficult to get out of the netting.  A homeowner does not want to find a terrified & injured bat wrapped in netting high up in a fruit tree because trying to remove a wild animal is likely to cause injury to the person.  It is best to call a trained wildlife rescuer who has also been vaccinated against any bat-related viruses.

If you have fruit trees, you can still net them. However, you need to pull the netting tight around & under the canopy so that a bird or a bat will bounce off it if they land on the tree.  Sydney Bats have a document that explains how to net your fruit trees with wildlife in mind. – http://www.sydneybats.org.au/cms/index.php?urban

If you see an injured bat, call –

  • Sydney Wildlife (02) 9413 4300 or
  • WIRES (Wildlife Information & Rescue Service) (02) 8977 3333
  • Outside Sydney contact your local wildlife organization.
  • Your local Vet will also know whom to contact.

I made a couple of short YouTube videos of flying foxes in the local area –

Razor wire at Tempe Bus Depot

Archives

Categories

© Copyright

Using and copying text and photographs is not permitted without my permission.

Blog Stats

  • 616,424 hits
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: