People can grow to love the flying fox spectacle
IT was good to see so many positive comments included in the article about flying foxes in Machattie Park.
Some comments, though, show a lack of understanding about the environmental role of the animals, misunderstanding about health risks, and ignorance about their status as a protected species.
It is important to ensure the public is reassured about the realistic risks (very low) of disease transmission.
As a Friends of Bats group we are keen to see Australians celebrate these important native animals and work to ensure they survive into the future.
Managing urban flying fox camps is challenging, but positive community attitudes make all the difference.
It is always disappointing to hear of community leaders like Bobby Bourke failing their communities in the way the article reported. That is, by stoking fear and loathing, which does not lead to any positive outcome for the bats or the community
As their role is to pollinate indigenous trees and disperse their seeds, flying foxes provide invaluable environmental services that more than offset the loss of some canopy foliage in a few trees in suburban parks.
Happily, as we find in our local colony (Yarra Bend Park in Melbourne), people can grow to love the colony and we have lookout spots that attract dozens of people every night to watch the spectacle of the bats 'flying out'.
Many international visitors are attracted to see this wildlife event.