Photo © WPSQ
Wildlife Queensland is extremely concerned about the recent announcement from Campbell Newman that if elected at the next election he will ensure the removal of a flying fox colony in the town of Charters Towers.
During a visit to Charters Towers early this week Campbell Newman confirmed that if the LNP get into power at the next election 'the bats in Lissner Park will go'.
'Conflicts between humans and flying foxes have a long history in Australia. With the spread of cities and towns and or the movement of flying fox camps due to the destruction of their natural habitat interaction with people have become more frequent. Trying to 'get rid of' native species that are an important part of our natural biodiversity is not the solution. We must learn to coexist. Furthermore Newman'’s attitude clearly demonstrates he has a scant regard for existing legislation which protects these species and a clear lack of understanding of ecological services so essential for our lifestyle' said Fiona Maxwell spokesperson for Wildlife Queensland.
While the method in which Newman proposes to remove these flying foxes remains unclear, there is concern that proposed methods may include the use of helicopters. Wildlife Queensland is of the understanding that this method has been assessed by the current Government and was rejected on the basis that it was likely to cause unnecessary suffering for the flying foxes and there were public safety issues. This method was trialled in The Northern Territory and did not work.
Ms Maxwell said 'Flying fox camp dispersals are not the answer. Experience shows they almost never work. Education is the answer. There is a general lack of understanding in the community of the critical role fauna like flying foxes play in the ecological processes that provide us with fresh air, clean water and the beautiful forests that we love and enjoy. It is appreciated that education can not give effect to a community change in the short term but it can reduce antagonism against wildlife. Unfortunately local authorities siding with their rate payers or politicians seeking votes too often add fuel to the fire to the detriment of educational efforts and these protected species'.
'Flying fox numbers have decreased dramatically over the last 50 years due to loss of habitat and poor management procedures. Flying foxes play a vital role in the reproduction, regeneration and dispersal of plants within rainforests, eucalypt forests, woodlands and wetlands. There is a need to find balance between sustainable development and the protection of our native wildlife' continued Ms Maxwell.
For more information on Wildlife Queensland's activities, call us on +61 7 3221 0194 or send us an email.