The state’s peak environment group has welcomed the pledge by both Labor and the Coalition that licensed shooting of grey-headed flying foxes will be phased out in NSW from July with farmers offered compensation to install nets for crop protection.
“The decision to end the licensed kill of grey-headed flying foxes means a strong chance of recovery for this important vulnerable species,” said Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Officer Pepe Clarke.
“The grey-headed flying fox plays an important role in pollinating native forests and, without the phase out of licences, it was predicted that they could be extinct within 80 years. The extinction of the grey-headed flying fox would have alarming consequences for the regeneration of our native forests, hampering the reproduction of eucalypt and melaleuca trees and the spread of rainforest fruits.
“Shooting has never been shown to be effective in protecting fruit crops. Investing $5 million to help farmers install nets to protect their crops will benefit both industry and our native grey-headed flying foxes.
“There is evidence that shooting is inhumane given not all flying foxes die immediately. Many grey-headed flying foxes die slowly from wing and bone injuries. Young can suffer a protracted death from dehydration and starvation when their mother is shot and does not return to the crèche at the centre of camp.
“This funding pledge will allow fruit growers to protect their crops with full exclusion netting. It will ensure livelihoods in rural areas and maintain supplies of local fresh fruit while protecting crops in a humane manner.
“The Nature Conservation Council calls on all parties contesting the election to further support grey-headed flying fox recovery with the protection and replanting of their natural food plants, particularly eucalyptus, melaleuca and banksia trees,” he said.
Photo: Brett Donald/Flickr Creative Commons