The town of Pittsworth in Queensland Australia has begun to disperse a colony of fruit bats roosting in trees in the rural town. The bats are being dispersed by local “business men” banging on tins and lighting fires under the trees.
The Pittsworth District Alliance (a local business group) is responsible for this archaic and ultimately pointless dispersal. It is also supported by the town Mayor who wants more powers to kill fruit bats (which are usually protected under law) and byToowoomba Regional Council.
These bats are being stressed unnecessarily. They can be temporarily scared away from a roost site but will just return days or months later.
They usually disperse to a location near the original roost, often in a more inconvenient location (which is often peoples back gardens).
Dispersal is cruel and ineffective.
Footage of day one clearly shows terrified and exhausted animals circling that are too afraid to land. Young bats can be heard calling in the trees abandoned by their terrified mothers these babies will die slowly from dehydration and starvation. The stress being caused to these animals is extreme and many of the adults will also die from exhaustion and stress.
Fruit bats are essential pollinators of native tree and plant species and they have a vital role in seed dispersal. These bats are essential to the future of the tropical forests and thus vital to the survival of all the well loved species (such as the koala) that dwell within them.
Urban areas are essential habitats for flying-foxes. The urban bat roosts are part of a network of roosts that allow flying-foxes to travel across their range. Some roosts are occupied permanently, others are occupied only every few years when there is available food in the area.
Bats have moved into urban areas due to habitat disturbance and destruction. They are already suffering because of climate change, pollution, bad netting, and barbed wire etc. The last thing they need is more persecution thanks to mass hysteria.
Politicians and land developers have pushed their anti flying fox agendas by creating mass hysteria regarding disease. In reality there is no disease that can be caught by walking or living near a bat roost or having them feed in your garden. There have only ever been 3 cases of lyssavirus in the entire history of Australia. Henda virus can only be caught from horses. Salmonella, leptispirosis and histoplasmosis have never been caught from a fruit bat. The hysterics regarding disease is all negative spin to serve certain individuals agendas and have no basis in reality.
There is no need to remove the bats. The bats should be protected and treasured.
We the undersigned condemn the persecution of bats and the action taken by certain Pittsworth residents. This hysterical witch hunt is barbaric, archaic and completely un-scientific and un-civilised. This kind of violence and hysteria should be a thing of the past.
Tourists will boycott the area and the name Pittworth will become associated with ignorant and barbaric attitudes to wildlife, is this really what this town stands for and wants to be internationally known for?
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