Feb 24, 2010

Garrett’s real bat problem: flying foxes set to extend the headache

Pink batts aren't the only bats that will be preying on environment minister Peter Garrett's mind at the moment. A problem looms for the embattled minister in the form of flying foxes, writes Nick Edards.

Pink batts aren’t the only bats that will be preying on Peter Garrett’s mind at the moment.

Of the many native species the Minister has responsibility for in his environment portfolio, probably none cause as much public and political controversy as flying-foxes — that is, fruit bats. Within the next two months, the Minister will have to make a decision on whether to approve the proposal by Botanic Gardens Trust to disperse, by means of noise harassment, the colony of grey-headed flying-foxes from Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney.

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6 thoughts on “Garrett’s real bat problem: flying foxes set to extend the headache

  1. Meski

    I would have thought a botanic gardens would be a good place in the city to have fruit bats. How about acting to disperse or remove things like feral pigeons first?

  2. Eponymous

    My sister worked there for a bit and the bats are, from the Garden’s point of view, ‘a big problem’. There’s some rare and Heritage listed trees in the gardens. Some of these have already been killed bythe bats. They wreck quite a lot of trees there and they smell, which makes people unhappy.

    Whether or not this is a reason to shoo them on is another matter entirely.

  3. Meski

    There are that many of them? Dispersing them to the wider Sydney area might upset more people. (Disclaimer: I don’t live in Sydney)

  4. Eponymous

    Oh yeah. There’s a lot. Maybe a quarter acre worth of densely packed trees? The procession out of the gardens each night takes about an hour or 2.

    As the article says, dispersion rarely works. I’ve heard this analogy to describe their effectiveness:
    “…is like putting your fist into a bucket of water and pulling it out, expecting the shape of your fist to still be in the water.”

    They’re there because they like it. The trees are nice, there’s heaps of food, no real predators apart from the odd Powerful Owl and the views are spectacular. They might clear off for a while, but, they’ll be back. They always are.

  5. Meski

    Nice analogy. 🙂 Sounds like we need more owls. I suspect if you tried to encourage them with nesting boxes, they’d be full of bats before you knew it.

  6. rosy at kempsey

    Love the batts, mine installed by local bloke, good job, no problems, appreciated the difference this summer, only trouble is that possum liked them too and refuses all attempts at eviction, don’t want to cause possum harm, what can I do now, please Mr Garrett?

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