Decision to disperse Botanic Gardens bats challenged in the Federal Court
Commonwealth Environment Minister Peter Garrett's decision to approve the dispersal of grey headed flying-foxes from Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney is being challenged in the Federal Court by Bat Advocacy NSW.
"We are concerned that the Minister may not have taken into account some very important matters when making his decision.” said Bat Advocacy's Storm Stanford, “It is our view that these shortcomings have resulted in a decision that is neither in the interests of the flying-foxes nor the people who live in the vicinity the Royal Botanic Gardens.”
The matters Bat Advocacy believes require review include the failure of the Federal Environment Minister to consider the loss of critical habitat to the grey-headed flying-foxes, the 20 year approval period for the dispersal, and the social impacts of the relocation.
Bat Advocacy's challenge has wide support in the conservation community.
"Humane Society International sees this is a very important case which we hope will help demonstrate the importance of critical habitat for all species, not just the grey-headed flying-foxes" said HSI’s Senior Program Manager, Alexia Wellbelove "It should also clarify the importance of critical habitat and the need for greater protection for threatened species from such proposals. It is because of these broader implications that HSI is providing financial support to Bat Advocacy to enable them to meet the majority of the inevitable legal costs".
Ku-ring-gai Bat Conservation Society spokesperson Nancy Pallin indicated her support for the legal action and said “we are concerned at the length of approval given to the dispersal. We believe that the cumulative impact of the dispersal action over this length of time will have profound consequences”.
“Bat Advocacy appreciates the support of Humane Society International and our solicitors the Environmental Defenders Office in this matter” said Storm Stanford, “and we look forward to the matter being considered by the court next month”.