Calls for patience as talks on flying foxes get tough

PRESSURE: The Flying Fox Action Committee Tamworth formed to investigate what else can be done. Photo: Gareth Gardner

PRESSURE: The Flying Fox Action Committee Tamworth formed to investigate what else can be done. Photo: Gareth Gardner

A LOCAL group has welcomed Kevin Anderson’s call to cull bat populations when they get too big, while others call for patience with the creatures.

The Flying Fox Action Committee Tamworth (FFACT) formed last fortnight in a bid to put pressure on the state government to reassess the endangered status of the grey-headed flying fox.

Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson has taken a strong stand on the issue, doubling-down on the call for an investigation into the native mammals’ endangered status and flagged the possibility of a cull.

Spokesperson for the FFACT group, Craig Cox, said it was time for people to be put before bats.

“When we have infestations of mice, rabbits, kangaroos, brumbies, positives steps had been taken to solve the problem,” Mr Cox told The Leader.

“We want to know why the flying foxes are being treated differently.”

The group wants to make a representation to the NSW threatened species scientific committee about the status of the grey-headed flying fox.

The colony of flying foxes in Tamworth has swelled to an unprecedented level.

Mr Cox said the establishment of the FFACT group had been very positively received by affected residents in the community.

Mr Anderson backed the call for the bats’ endangered status to be reassessed.

“What we need to do is look at the category in which flying foxes sit in the endangered species space,” he said.

“I’d like to see a benchmark put in when the number of bats reaches a certain number, in terms of population, they should be able to be culled or the numbers should be able to be reduced.”

Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) Central North bat coordinator Jae Price called for some more patience and asked for the flying foxes to be left alone.

PATIENCE: WIRES bat coordinator Jae Price says the bats will move on once the food source is gone. Photo: Peter Hardin

PATIENCE: WIRES bat coordinator Jae Price says the bats will move on once the food source is gone. Photo: Peter Hardin

“Yes, they’re smelly, and yes, they’re here in big numbers, but they’re here to follow the food source,” she said.

“There’s a lot of blossoms for them here and they’ll move on once that’s gone.

“They’re not here to harm, they’re here to pollinate and disperse seeds that bees can’t.”

Ms Price said the flying foxes were a threatened species and “there’ll be no culling”.

“They’re here in great numbers but that’s the majority of bats in eastern Australia,” Ms Price said.

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