The spectacled flying-fox is now recognised as an Endangered species under national environment law following a listing decision made by Federal Minister for the Environment Melissa Price yesterday. Humane Society International (HSI) has welcomed the uplisting, which was made four years after the organisation nominated the species for the status change from Vulnerable to Endangered.
"We've known that spectacled flying-foxes are endangered for years now, but the shocking heatwave in Cairns that killed more than 30% of the Australian population last November put the issue beyond doubt. This is a species in desperate need of help and we commend Minister Price for making the important decision to increase their level of protection,” said HSI's Head of Programs Evan Quartermain.
The Threatened Species Scientific Committee's advice to list the species as Endangered was first provided to former Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg in early 2017, but he used a legal loophole to defer making a listing decision three times. The latest deadline was January 7, and despite being several weeks overdue in making her decision Minister Price has broken the delay pattern the first time the decision was hers to make.
"After 18 months of pointless delays by her predecessor Josh Frydenberg, Environment Minister Melissa Price has finally given spectacled flying-foxes the Endangered listing they have been in desperate need of. This should now see the actions prescribed in their Recovery Plan receive urgent prioritisation in an effort to turn around the trajectory towards extinction,” Mr Quartermain continued.
In a recent call to action more than 4,500 Humane Society International supporters who care deeply about this charismatic species wrote to Minister Price urging her to make this decision, and we are extremely thankful to them for using their voices to help get the important listing over the line.
HSI will now be working with the Queensland Government to ensure this increased status is also recognised in state law, and advocating for increased prioritisation of conservation actions detailed in the spectacled flying-fox Recovery Plan.
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