Conservation North Queensland farmer style

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: Conservation North Queensland farmer style
From: "Terry Pacey" <>
Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2002 06:50:57 +1000
The following story, appearing in today's "Courier Mail", does not directly
refer to birds but shows what some farmers, in this case from North
Queensland but not only from there, think of conservation, science etc.

Terry Pacey

Farmer's new bid to zap bats
Brendan O'Malley

A NORTH Queensland lychee grower at the centre of a landmark environmental
test case has sought permission to electrocute up to 5500 rainforest bats.

Fewer than 200,000 of the spectacled flying foxes are believed to remain in
the Wet Tropics World Heritage rainforests and the Supreme Court has found
there could be as few as 100,000.

In the latest development, Rohan Bosworth has applied to Environment
Australia to kill up to 5500 bats on his farm 100km north of Townsville.

The Supreme Court last year forced him to stop using electric grids after
finding they killed 18,000 bats in six weeks. But Mr Bosworth claimed few
females were affected and said the 200,000 population estimate was a small
percentage of the true number of remaining bats.

"Greenies say I could use nets, but they would cost $1.5 million," he said.
"No one around here has made money by putting in nets."

The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service stopped issuing electrocution
permits last year after it ruled the practice inhumane. If Mr Bosworth's
application was approved it would override state law.

Bat expert Hugh Spencer said the real issue was not whether there were
100,000 or 200,000 flying foxes left.

"Populations have collapsed from an estimated one to two million in the
1950s because of loss of habitat and targeting by farmers, developers and
others," he said.

"Flying foxes can demolish an orchard, but the point is no one has been
putting money into finding non-lethal alternatives."

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