Not `buzz off' but `please stay' bats

Updated November 6 2012 - 3:18pm, first published May 26 2010 - 1:56am

ON the Bendigo Advertiser’s Opinion Page on Monday there was the beautiful photo of the grey headed flying fox in flight. What a shock it was to me to read in the caption. BUZZ OFF. Why? I for one do not want them to buzz off as I am very happy to see them and privileged to observe them so close, as I frequently walk in the park.When not disturbed, they chatter with each other, which is not very loud and very pleasant to listen to. To see them fly off to feed in the evening is a fantastic experience. Rosalind Park is not empty of people.There are people like me coming to see them, mothers bringing their children to play in the playing ground, people running and walking dogs. Tourists pay a lot of money to travel to rainforests in Queensland to see flying foxes, yet we have them in Bendigo _ to me it is a fantastic opportunity to see them. As a matter of interest, flying foxes may be more closely related to primates, which means us humans, than to other bats. This year is the International Year of Biodiversity and, as reported in ifThe Age nfon May 6, Australia's global footprint is one of the worst. Research led by professor Corey Bradshaw, of the University of Adelaide's environment institute, found Australia's carbon emission, rate of species threat and natural forest loss were the greatest contributors to its ninth place ranking. The study also indicates that Australia has the highest mammalian extinction rate in the world, largely due to introduced species such as foxes, cats and rats and habitat loss. This should worry all of us, as we are part of biodiversity and depend on it and its loss therefore threatens our very existence. Of course, the grey headed flying foxes are part of biodiversity and so we should protect them. The loss of Australia's biodiversity also has an adverse effect on global warming as the two exacerbate each other. Just imagine that there are no unique native Australian animals or plants left, just introduced ones and that's what seems to be happening as the exotic animals and plants are not threatened with extinction, just the natives. Why is it that we care so little about our native animals and plants yet they are crucial to the conservation of biodiversity? It is very fortunate that the flowering of the ironbarks and yellow gums in our Box-Ironbark Forest and the city provided refuge to the grey headed flying foxes that are already a threatened species and without the refuge they may have become pushed closer to extinction. I am glad that they are protected under the 1975 Wildlife Protection Act and that there are people like Trish Pilling who obviously care for wildlife.People concerned about infections from the flying foxes should read the comments by the DSE in the ifBendigo Advertisernf, on March 26 and April 3 that they do not pose any threat to humans unless someone is bitten by them. Since they are high in the trees this is highly unlikely. BARBARA PELCZYNSKAKennington qrbb