The state’s peak environment group has called on the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change to stop issuing licences to shoot flying-foxes.
“The Grey Headed Flying Fox have an important role to play in pollinating native forests and it is predicted that they could be extinct within 80 years,” Cate Faehrmann, executive director of the Nature Conservation Council said today.
“The extinction of the Grey Headed Flying Fox would have alarming consequences for the regeneration of native forests ecosystems.
“Flying-foxes carry pollen between eucalypt trees contributing to the reproduction of native forests in eastern Australia. They also spread rainforest fruits and are therefore vital in sustaining our World Heritage Rainforests in northern NSW. To carry out their pollination role, flying-foxes must be in large numbers.
“The Nature Conservation Council of NSW strongly supports the call by the Humane Society International for the NSW Government to follow the lead of Queensland in ceasing to issue licences to shoot flying-foxes for fruit crop protection.
“Shooting has never been shown to be effective in protecting fruit crops.
“There is evidence that shooting is inhumane in that not all flying-foxes die immediately. Many die slowly from smashed wings. Young carried by females during the first weeks of life die slowly after the mother dies. Older young die from dehydration and starvation in the camp when the mother has been shot and does not return.
“Since the early 1990s, researchers have concluded that the grey-headed flying-foxes in Queensland, NSW and Victoria are a single genetic population. Culling in one part of their range affects the total population.
“Existing fruit growers need effective incentives to protect their crops with full exclusion netting. Any fruit growers entering the industry must automatically use netting to protect their crops,” Ms Faehrmann said.