days, the newly appointed NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson MP has made some
alarming statements regarding the grey-headed flying-fox. In her media release,
the Minister suggests that NSW may ask the Federal Government to reassess the
listing of the grey-headed flying-fox under the EPBC Act, and has also suggested
further options are being considered for crop protection, which risks an
increase in the barbaric and cruel practice of shooting of flying-foxes.
are currently experiencing a protracted food crisis, resulting from higher than
average rainfalls along eastern coastal areas since 2010, compounded by recent
floods. As a result, many bats are turning up in areas where they have not
historically been found, such as Orange
in NSW. They are then taking advantage of readily available food sources such
as those provided by orchardists due to the food crisis. It is this activity
that has prompted the Minister to make her statements.
It is clear
to HSI that the grey-headed flying-foxes, in particular, are under considerable
stress. It is highly unlikely that numbers of the species have increased, in
fact HSI suspects that the species may be in decline. Due to the nomadic nature
of the species, numbers of bats in an area can vary wildly from year to year.
Increases in flying-fox sightings in one area or State cannot therefore be
attributed to an increase or recovery of the species.
your help to let the NSW Minister for Primary Industries and the NSW Minister
for the Environment know the importance of the grey-headed flying-fox to the
NSW environment, and to remind them of the need for rigorous independent
scientific review before any decisions are made on the management of the
written to the Ministers seeking an urgent meeting, but in the meantime we need
your help. The NSW Government needs to hear your views.
grey-headed flying-fox was listed as vulnerable under State and Federal
environmental legislation following a thorough, independent scientific process.
Any decision about threatened species status must remain scientific and
independent of politics.
Flying-foxes continue to face a wide array of
threats that will undermine their potential for recovery unless the NSW meets
its obligations to conserve the species. Threats include continued loss of critical
habitat (for both feeding and breeding), shooting, electrocution, barbed wire
entanglements and more.
The Government’s election promise to support a
grant for farmers to net their crops and to phase out shooting of flying-foxes was
a sound conservation commitment. Full exclusion netting is the only proven
method to protect crops from foraging flying-foxes. The simplistic approach of shooting
bats is not effective, and is a barbaric practice with significant welfare
Please write as soon
as possible. Please send us copies of any responses you