Credit to the facebook group 'Campbell Newman's Bat Shame' for this cute as image.

Credit to the facebook group ‘Campbell Newman’s Bat Shame’ for this cute as image.

One evening I was driving along in a storm and it was bucketing down. I looked to the side of the road and saw a flying fox drowning in a gutter.

My response wasn’t to drive on. My response was to quickly pull over and jump out. I looked in my car boot to see what I could use and found a used baby blanket that I was taking to the charity shop for a friend.

I ran over to the flying fox who was in all sorts of panic trying to get free of the current that had him fighting for his life. I gently scooped him up in the blanket and placed him on the footpath. He immediately took off and disappeared into some trees.

That was the day I saved a flying fox from drowning. It’s one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

Queensland Greens lead Senate candidate Adam Stone has labelled Bob Katter’s calls to remove legal protection for Queensland flying fox communities ‘reckless and irresponsible’.

Thank you Adam for speaking up for this native Australian species.

Unfortunately Adam’s thread has sparked a vitriol of bat hate. And I don’t get it. I just don’t get it.

Why harbour ‘bat hate’? Why can’t people understand that the myth of bats as evil flying vermin is the myth of vampire stories, not the reality of life on this planet as we know it.

Why can’t people understand that flying foxes, to some people, are as cute and cuddly as koalas are to others?

In 2004 when I was running in Bonner I had a constituent ring me and ask me what she should do about the rat problem in her backyard. She said she had rung the local Council who suggested they can come in an exterminate them. As a vegan, this woman was horrified. When I told her that was really the only option available, she declared she was going to take all the babies and place them in the bush. I encouraged her not to do that (that kind of reckless action ruins native ecosystems), but I knew I was fighting a losing battle with someone who was speaking emotionally and non-sensically about an introduced pest.

We’re talking about bats here, not rats.

Flying foxes are native to Australia. They may be considered a pest in some locations of Queensland, but they are not a pest in the true meaning of the word. Advocating for their survival – particularly the survival of the most vulnerable of their species –  is a rational and sensible thing to do. Their presence has inherent value to our eco-system.

There is no need for ‘bat hate’ when it comes to this precious creature.

And they are precious.

Every night when I come home from work or from campaigning I am greeted by a flying fox in my front palm tree. I accidentally frighten him (every time). He then flies in a circle and goes back to the tree. He then hangs around (literally!) and munches on fruit while my flatmate and I watch TV. We can hear him. He’s been doing this every day for the last few months. It’s an absolute delight.

In fact, his presence is one of the most favourite parts of my day. Seeing him and hearing him so close makes me happy.

But Katter’s advocating to remove all protections from this vulnerable species.

Vote 1 Adam Stone in the Senate. Vote Greens in the House of Reps.

5 thoughts on “Flying foxes are worth saving

  1. Thanks so much for your comments. It means so much to us bat carers that people are publishing positive stories about bats. They get such a hard time – usually till people see a baby 🙂

    Don’t forget to keep your local wildlife group’s number in your car. That’s usually where you need it.

    Chris

    Northern Rivers NSW

  2. Thank you for your common sense and a great article. I hope your palm isn’t a Cocos palm – an introduced environmental weed that produces large clumps of seeds that turn yellow/gold. They’re now very common as they spread easily. Flying-foxes get caught on the thorns near the trunk, they lose all their teeth from the hard nut and sometimes starve to death after getting the nut stuck onto their teeth. We tell people who have these cocos palms and complain about bat poo to at least remove the seeds, preferably remove the whole tree, to solve the problem.

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