Conservation and welfare groups - Humane Society International, Nature Conservation Council of NSW, Bat Advocacy and Ku-ring-gai Bat Conservation Society Conservation - have welcomed the announcement by the NSW Environment Minister, Robyn Parker MP of the implementation of an election commitment to provide orchardists with funding to protect crops from flying-foxes and the associated end of licensed shooting of flying-foxes in NSW by 2014.
The new scheme will commence on 1st July 2011, providing orchardists in the Sydney Basin and Central Coast with $5 million of financial assistance towards the installation of full exclusion netting. Importantly, this will also be accompanied by a phase-out over a three year period of the licensed shooting of flying-foxes throughout NSW, with licences only issued after this period in exceptional circumstances.
“The implementation of the Government’s election commitment to a subsidised netting program is a long-awaited and welcome step for the benefit of both farmers and flying-foxes,” said Alexia Wellbelove of Humane Society International.
“For many years, farmers and conservationists have expressed the same desire to end shooting, and this is a great example of where stakeholders have worked together to find a solution which has the support of all parties,” said Pepe Clarke, CEO of Nature Conservation Council of NSW.
“Netting is not only the most humane approach, but also the most effective measure to protect orchard crops from damage by flying-foxes, whilst simultaneously assisting conservation efforts,” said Nick Edards of Bat Advocacy NSW.
“The phasing out of the barbaric practice of the licensed shooting of one of our threatened native species is a welcome decision that cannot come soon enough, and we look forward to working with Government towards this aim.” concluded HSI’s Alexia Wellbelove.
The Humane Society International, Nature Conservation Council of NSW, Bat Advocacy and Ku-ring-gai Bat Conservation Society look forward to working with Government in the coming years towards successful implementation of the scheme and the ending of licensed shooting of flying-foxes.