Birds, bats and the (unfunny and rather long) future

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Birds, bats and the (unfunny and rather long) future
Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2001 13:54:51 +1100
This is not funny (and rather long).

Today there was a posting from Steve Clark about Hamilton
Botanical Gardens where he said "No Fruit-bats fortunately" and
one from John Seagoon Gamblin with his diverting proposal for
diverting duck hunters to the 17,000 flying foxes at the Royal
Melbourne Botanic Gardens (RMBG).  

For those who don't know, the RMBG is about to kill grey-headed
flying foxes (fruit bats) in the gardens after the Victorian
Environment Minister REJECTED a recommendation from the relevant
Scientific Advisory Committee that the species be listed as
endangered under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.

I am very worried about the implications of a politician
rejecting such advice because Wedge-tailed Eagles or whatever
could be next if they are considered to be a nuisance ?  Surely
- as in our recent Bustard conversations - we can recognise a
species as endangered and do our best to manage what humans do
about the species.  

Pretending the flying foxes are not endangered is just rubbish.
Colonial species with huge numbers can vanish very quickly - the
passenger pigeons used to blacken the sky over parts of the USA.
There are now 2 or 3 left - in museums and truly stuffed.

And why are the bats a problem for the RMBG - directed I am told
by a former chief employee of the RAOU ? Because the RBMG's
little bit of pseudo rainforest is being damaged by the bats
which are probably there because of the introduction of Moreton
Bay - and similar - fig trees, particularly to the RMBG and
nearby parks as well as urban Melbourne, and the 1970s+ planting
of eucalypts in urban areas and also because of ....?? 

What worries me most about the RMBG line is that it is looking 
backwards and not forwards.  With global warming etc. (see the 3
recent reports by the United Nations intergovernmental panel on
climate change at ) it is likely that more
species will move south and, as they do, it will become even
more important to adapt, using the best scientific knowledge we
have, rather than to pretend it is not happening.  

With George "Dubya" Bush's promise yesterday not to rein-in
polluting power stations things are going to get worse for
longer. Which will - I think - delight both the major Australian
political parties because it will mean a few more years of no
hunger-belts for the whitefellas...

During the last 2 months the Melbourne Museum has had 10 or so
queries per day about strange insects.  These were native Blue
flower wasps (Scolia soror) which have erupted all over
Melbourne ...

Global warming ?  Global warning ?

Michael Norris

PS. The Museum has just sacked some scientific/collections staff
because ... ?   Perhaps glitzy front-of-house, pseudo tax
collections are now seen as more important than our ignorance
about many Australian taxa.  Yes we can spend more money on
medical topics being researched all over the world, but spending
it on what is unique to Australia ...

PPS And if anyone has some practical suggestions about what to
do, please let me know.
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