help stop the eviction of flying foxes from Sydney botanic gardens
Sydney, 24 March 2010
The Botanic Gardens Trust is proposing to evict a colony of flying foxes from the harbour side Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney. HSI has serious concerns that the proposed dispersal of the flying foxes will cause extended periods of sleep deprivation, high levels of stress from the harassment leading them to flee to sites less suitable for them and the potential miscarriage of pregnant females. This is no way to treat a native threatened species classified as vulnerable to extinction.
In 2003, noise harassment was used to evict a colony of grey-headed flying-foxes, the largest species of Australian fruit bat and a key pollinator and seed disperser of Australian native forest trees, from the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. For six months, the animals were chased across the city before being forced to a new site at Yarra Bend.
If Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett approves an application that is currently with his department, Sydney could see the same chaos as early as the beginning of May. The same techniques as were used in Melbourne will be used by the Botanic Gardens Trust to evict the colony of grey-headed flying-foxes, a federally listed threatened species.
Further the Trust has no control over where the bats will go. The Trust's submission to the Federal Government suggests that it is likely that the bats will join existing Flying-Fox camps located around Sydney, despite the land managers at all but one of these camps making it clear there is no capacity for additional animals.
Historically, such dispersals result in bats staying close to the location from which they have been evicted which, in the case of Sydney, may mean that they attempt to roost in parks or gardens close to the Botanic Gardens.
The grey-headed flying-fox is listed as vulnerable to extinction under both state and federal legislation. Recent studies reveal the species is being pushed closer to extinction with every death due to a combination of declined breeding success and increased mortality rates.
Help us stop the eviction
Write to the the Hon. Peter Garrett, the Federal Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts asking him to reject an application to evict the grey-headed flying foxes from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.
Make the following points in your letter or email:
- That evicting the Grey-headed flying-fox from the Royal Botanic Gardens will have a significant impact on the species.
- Tell the Minister that the proposed dispersal of the flying foxes will cause extended periods of sleep deprivation, high levels of stress from the harassment leading them to flee to sites less suitable for them and the potential miscarriage of pregnant females.
- There is no control over where the bats will go. They may attempt to roost in parks of gardens close to the Botanic Gardens.
- The Trust is proposing the bats will join existing camps in the Sydney region, despite the land managers at all but one of these camps already explicitly rejecting this as an option, due ongoing conflict between the residents and the bats that are already roosting there.
- The camp at the Royal Botanic Gardens has been assessed as being least likely to be affected by heat stress in the event of high temperatures and low humidity. This is further evidence of the importance of this site.
- The species is being pushed closer to extinction with every death due to a combination of declined breeding success and increased mortality rates.
Please send us copies of any responses you receive