bats - the answers

Subject: bats - the answers
Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2001 16:59:48 +1100
Dear all

Special thanks to Peter Woodall for providing Les Hall's
comments and to Andrew Taylor and Peter Menkhorst for their
contributions. Many do not realise that Grey-headed Flying Foxes
are indigenous to the Melbourne area and it is important to hear
that they are from someone as authoritative as Peter. 

The topic is relevant to birds because of the concerns about the
processes for listing endangered species and communities.

Yesterday during the lunch break (of the Test Match!) ABC
Melbourne radio had an interview with the chair of the
Scientific Advisory Committee which recommended listing
(Virginia Studdert?).  It seems the panel was split and the
recommendation was therefore made on the basis that the status
of the animal was "insufficiently known".

The Victorian Minister was reported to have taken the line,
whilst rejecting the advice, that a national approach to
managing flying foxes is needed.  Various animal welfare groups
are pursuing that possibility whilst planning to disrupt the
gassing of the bats.

I hope they will also enquire about the possibility of judicial
review, a method of protecting the community from the
unjustified use of discretion by ministers and officials. The
Minister's decision could be an unfortunate precedent for not
listing other species where the status is insufficiently known.

Michael Norris
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