The Queensland government in Australia has reintroduced the permitted shooting of flying foxes by fruit growers. Shooting of these beneficial bats was banned four years ago, when it was official declared inhumane. Appropriate netting, meanwhile, has been found to be not only humane, but more effective than shooting for protecting fruit. Please join BCI and conservation groups across Australia in letting Queensland officials know that you object to this decision. Make your voice heard by expressing your concerns in a letter or email to Andrew Powell, Queensland's Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection.
Here is a sample letter. Please sign and mail it to the address below or cut and paste it into an email. Feel free to change it to better reflect your views, or to write a different letter. But please let Mr. Powell know that that the world is watching.
Mr. Andrew Powell
Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection
GPO Box 2454
Brisbane, Queensland 4001
I am extremely disappointed at the decision by you and your government to reintroduce the permitted shooting of flying foxes in Queensland. I have long considered Australia to be a positive force for wildlife conservation, but this cruel, inhumane and unnecessary decision shatters that illusion – especially since a proven, cost-effective alternative to shooting is readily available.
Research finds that shooting will not resolve the problems and inevitably causes many wounded bats to die painful deaths, while young bats are often orphaned and left to starve to death.
I assumed that you, as Minister for the Environment, would be committed to protecting Queensland's ecosystems and the creatures that inhabit them, such as these flying foxes that contribute greatly to the health of your environment. I also understand that Queensland banned the shooting of flying foxes in 2008, when the government's Animal Welfare Advisory Committee found it to be inhumane. What has changed since then?
Grey-headed flying fox populations have been declining for many years. A federal report cited collapse of at least 30 percent between 1989 and 2001. This new decision puts this impressive species at serious risk of following the Christmas Island pipistrelle bat into extinction.
Appropriate netting has been proven to protect commercial orchards around Australia from bats and birds and to be more effective than shooting. I urge Queensland to immediately revoke this cruel decision and to work with conservationists and others to develop a mitigation fund to help fruit growers protect their orchards with humane netting.
Please reverse this unfortunate course and restore the world's faith in Australia's commitment to conservation.