bats - the answers

To: "Judie Peet" <>
Subject: bats - the answers
From: Peter Woodall <>
Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2001 09:03:32 +1000
At 15:00 15/03/2001 +1100, you wrote:
>Hi Everyone,
>John Gamblin wrote:
>I wonder if the bat numbers boom relates to times
>ahead for Oz? slinks away head down. Seriously what is
>causing the numbers boom? food oversupply?
>My impression was that it's not so much a case of bat numbers being higher
>overall, as that bats are congregating in large numbers in places that are
>not acceptable to people as bat roosts. Maybe because their regular roosts
>are gone or modified by people so that they are not suitable roosts anymore?
>Can someone who knows about such things let us know please?
>Judie Peet, Dubbo
>(The only thing certain about bird, and bat, watching is that nothing's
Dear Julie and others

In response to your request for more info on the bats in the Melbourne
Botanical Gardens, I asked my colleague Dr Les Hall for some info on the
situation.  If anyone in Australia knows about fruit bats, it is Les. He has
studied them for many years, he has supervised a number of PhD's on them
and has just written the definitive book "Flying-foxes, fruit and blossom
bats of Australia", co-authored with Greg Richards and Publ by Uni NSW Press,
2000. Enough on his credentials, this is what he replied....

Dear Peter,

The recent increase in numbers of Grey-headed flying foxes at Melbourne
Botanical Gardens is a result of a plentiful supply of food in the area.
In northern NSW and south east Queensland the bloodwoods failed to flower
(usually January to March) this year and the section of the Grey-headed
flying fox population which is migratory has taken off down south where the
flowering is good.  Camps in southeast Queensland are now composed of the
remainder sedentary animals and there is probably less than 20,000
Grey-heads in south east Queensland at present.

The proposed culling at the MBG does not make sense scientifically or by
just using logic.  A lot of the flying foxes in the gardens will return
north into NSW and Qld when the food resources around Melbourne are
depleted.  What is the sense of killing hundreds - or thousands, when they
are about to leave?  If the MBG had spent some money on well directed
flying fox research (instead of employing a PR person to stir up the media
and public) they could have identified what animals were sedentary and what
ones were migratory in the MBG camp.  If they could focus their management
activities on these sedentary bats, which cause the long- term damage to
roost trees, they would be getting towards a solution.  At present they do
not have a clue about what they are trying to do - and worst of all, they
do not seem to want to ask relevant people for advice.
                        Best wishes,

All the best

Dr Peter Woodall                          email = 
Division of Vet Pathology & Anatomy             
School of Veterinary Science.             Phone = +61 7 3365 2300
The University of Queensland              Fax   = +61 7 3365 1355
Brisbane, Qld, Australia 4072             WWW  =
"hamba phezulu" (= "go higher" in isiZulu)


Birding-Aus is on the Web at
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message
"unsubscribe birding-aus" (no quotes, no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU