Australian Flying Foxes Need Help - Merlin Tuttle

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Australian Flying Foxes Need Help | Merlin Tuttle Source: www.merlintuttle.com/2017/01/10/aussie-flying-foxes-need-help By Paula: Jan 10 2017 Australian Flying Foxes Need Help By Merlin Tuttle -------------------------------------- As one who in 1985 played a lead role in convincing the New South Wales NSW Minister for the Environment and Planning Bob Carr to provide statewide protection for flying foxes I am extremely disappointed to see such progress reversed decades later by a predecessor. Grey-headed flying foxes are essential pollinators and seed dispersers upon which many of Australia’s unique plants and animals rely. Nevertheless their numbers have declined dramatically over the past hundred years. They first were massively exterminated by fruit growers because during periodic droughts when forests failed to flower

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starving bats would invade orchards. Thanks to excellent research orchards can now be protected. However the bats’ traditional roosting habitats often have been overrun by urbanization. Once again these bats are in trouble often with few options remaining. In small numbers they may be enjoyed. But during unpredictable spikes in gum tree flowering these sophisticated commuters can be attracted long distances. When bats weighing up to two pounds and having wingspans of more than three feet suddenly increase by as much as 10- fold noise and odor can become a serious problem. Gray-headed and other flying foxes are essential pollinators and seed dispersers for Australian forests. This grey-headed flying fox Pteropus poliocephalus pollinating a rose gum tree Angophora costata. Flying foxes are the continent’s most important long- distance pollinators and seed dispersers. However they are killed in massive numbers during occasional droughts when native trees fail to flower forcing them to resort to orchard fruit which could be protected with netting. Excellent means of protecting fruit orchards have been developed but urban nuisances have not yet been studied sufficiently to find viable solutions. As flying fox experts Justin Welbergen and Peggy Eby recently explained in their insightful article Not in my backyard How to live alongside flying foxes in urban Australia grey-headed flying foxes can travel thousands of kilometers in a single year and quickly respond to changing conditions far beyond the boundaries of any one state. To resolve nuisances without loss of essential services Mother grey-headed flying foxes Pteropus poliocephalus roosting with young pups hidden beneath their wings in Australia. Grey-headed flying foxes are an endangered species.

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we must learn much more about what attracts them to specific roosts and how best to provide suitable alternatives when their choices create nuisances. Currently relied upon harassment methods are squandering millions of dollars simply chasing bats from yard to yard and community to community almost never achieving long-term solutions. There is a long history of politically motivated actions that win elections by simply moving problems. The recent situation in Batemans Bay NWS is a prime example of how far wrong locally led actions can go. Due to last year’s unusually prolific gum tree bloom in the area tens of thousands of grey-headed flying foxes have been attracted possibly as much as 20 percent of the continent’s remaining population. And residents are understandably upset by all the noise and droppings. In an apparently politically motivated move the Australian Commonwealth the only entity truly capable of addressing a highly mobile problem that moves back and forth across state lines has delegated authority to the states who in turn have delegated responsibility to local city councils. Both the Commonwealth and state governments have officially listed grey-headed flying foxes as Threatened Species vulnerable to extinction. Thus these bats are protected under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999 and the New South Wales Threatened Species Conservation Act of 1995. Nevertheless NWS Prime Minister Mike Baird has authorized expenditure of 2.5 million dollars to support the local city council in taking actions that the country’s leading experts warn will only create new problems harmful to all concerned. Take action on behalf of bats Follow this Link -------------------------------------- TAGS australia bat conservation bat flash bats conservation endangered species flying fox media merlin tuttle merlin tuttles bat conservation pollination seed dispersal -------------------------------------- Article Source: www.merlintuttle.com/2017/01/10/aussie-flying-foxes-need-help Read More Stories: http://www.merlintuttle.com/news-blog/ ___________________________________________________________________

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