Bats under threat as government issues kill permit


Plans to allow the shooting of bats in rural Queensland have ruffled the feathers of conservation groups.

But the government says its changes will only allow kill permits, as a ‘last resort’.

Isobel Roe reports.

TRANSCRIPT

They’re being coined ‘kill permits’ but they’re only to be used in desperate times.

Andrew Powell, MP: “Farmers need to demonstrate that over the last few years in particular, that they’ve tried non-lethal methods of that non-lethal methods have proven cost prohibitive.”

It’ll allow farmers to control nuisance wildlife faster.

Campbell Newman, Qld Premier: “It will be careful, considered, in any approach that we use to manage the issue. But we have made a commitment to communities across Queensland that they’re health and safety will be put first and foremost.”

But not everyone’s happy.

Andrew Powell, MP: “I think there’s a bit of a hysteria from some of the more extreme environmental groups that are suggesting that this is open season of flying foxes. This is about restoring balance.”

With bat populations already dwindling in the South-East, rescue groups are fighting the permits.

Louise Saunders, Bat Conservation and Rescue Qld: “We’re already at the top of the tree as far as mammal extinctions in the world so let’s just go down that path of issuing these stupid policies and annihilate flying foxes – this is the wrong thing to do.”

Rural fruit farmers say they want the right to deter bat colonies, to protect their crops and at the moment, anyone who shoots a bat can be liable for a whopping $100,000 fine.

Michael Beatty, RSPCA: “You can’t just slaughter an animal that basically helps provide a major ecosystem, albeit one that’s sort of been partially destroyed.”

The policy will focus on dispersing the bigger populations but they won’t be undergoing any large scale culls.

Isobel Roe, QUT News.