We learnt with some excitement that the dispersal of 22,000 flying foxes from the botanical gardens Sydney will be postponed another year - the stated reason from the gardens is to protect the health of the foxes though an improved monitoring system, with the implicit likelihood that animal ethics clearance for the dispersal would not have been awarded. From what we can glean there are continuing real problems with the gardens attempts to monitor bat numbers using a mixture of radio and GPS collars in line with the rules of the dispersal, especially given that many of the bats are in poor condition and would therefore be quite likely suffering under the weight of the attached airborne electronics.
Given we are dealing with a keystone mammal under severe stress and in decline this represents an ideal moment to pause and substantially reconsider this deeply flawed decision. The Remnant Emergency Artlab has always supported the possibility of creative solutions to this problem and acknowledged that it goes beyond just an bat or tree issue - what it actually questions is how we are going to accommodate species that we are both displacing elsewhere and that need iur cities as refuges and also species that pollinate and disperse the seeds of our native forests - an exatrodinary service provided to humanity at no cost.
It follows that the removal of the entire camp clearly cannot proceed without harm to the species and that we all have a responsibility to colved the complex layers of problems that this case uncovers.
Here are two key quotes from recent media ..
“It’s important we collect more information on fitting radio and satellite collars so we can reduce any potential impact on the flying-foxes,” Dr Summerell said.
“The requests by the Royal Botanic Gardens Trust to downgrade the strict conditions placed upon the dispersal is of significant concern, and suggests that the Trust has little regard for this protected native species,” said Alexia Wellbelove of Humane Society International.
Following in the steps of the hugely successful Bat-Human project we assert that what is needed now is cross cultural creative thinking - given that this is clearly a touchstone issue for how we must coexist with species being rapidly displaced from our poorly priotected native bush.
See a typical media report here ..