Abandoned Flying-Fox Pups in Dan Gleeson Memorial Gardens, Townsville, Queensland

Abandoned Flying-Fox Pups in Dan Gleeson Memorial Gardens, Townsville, Queensland

The local Townsville Council is allowing the harassment of the flying-fox colony each morning using smoke and fogging machines. About fifty pups have been rescued from the Dan Gleeson colony but many others have either died or are out of reach from rescuers. These abominable dispersal activities encouraged by the Council are detering the flying-foxes from returning to the colony, in particular, lactating females with dependent young.

Under the previous Queensland Campbell Newman Government, 'as-of-right' authority was given to local councils to manage urban flying-fox colonies and this ruling increased the number of dispersals. However if young are adversely impacted during the birthing and rearing season then dispersal activities must cease.

Because many abandoned flying-fox pups from Dan Gleeson Park have either been found dead or have been taken into care, continuation of the Council's dispersal activities is a clear violation of the Code of Practice - Ecological Sustainable Management of Flying-fox Roosts, and Townsville Council may face penalties for breach of Code of Practice.

The Department of Environment & Science (DES) in Brisbane has been contacted and will be conducting an investigation into the mortality and abandonment of pups and the complainant will be advised of the outcome of the investigation.

It is believed that the cessation of lactation and subsequent abandonment of pups is similar to that experienced in Cairns CBD during the construction of two hotels when cranes were operating directly over the flying-fox roost trees.

The current Labour Government is undertaking a review of flying-fox framework legislation including Codes of Practice and Ecological Sustainable Management of Flying-Fox Roosts. Hopefully the new, revised Queensland Flying-Fox legislation will not allow actions that could impact on any species of flying-fox, although it is feared that the Queensland Government is not intending to rescind the 'as-of-right' authority to local councils nor is it intending to cease issuing Damage Mitigation Permits.

Maree Treadwell Kerr
Flying-Fox Expert Group
Australian Bat Society

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