Rally to Save four Roost Trees of the Spectacled Flying-Fox Camp
5pm Sat 16 Apr 2016 Aplin St between Lake St and Abbott St, Cairns
This rally is spearheaded by Cairns and Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC), and with the participation of other community groups including:
Cairns & Far Nth Environment Centre (CAFNEC)
Australasian Bat Society
Wildlife Tourism Australia
Please visit our facebook Event page and click 'Going' if you intend coming along, at https://www.facebook.com/events/1704305189854127/
We will watch the spectacular fly-out at just after 6pm. Flying-fox expert Maree Treadwell-Kerr (and others) will be there to answer any questions about this wonderful species.
The new owner of the lot at 120 Lake St, on Aplin St, opposite Cairns City Library and adjacent to the Novotel Oasis Resort has submitted a Development Application to Cairns Regional Council.
His intention is to construct a commercial car park as well as shops and a café / restaurant.
He also wishes to cut down a number of trees including FOUR ROOST TREES inhabited by the Spectacled flying-fox. These roost trees form part of the Spectacled flying-fox camp.
These trees are on the perimeter of the lot and do not interfere with development. The owner is intending to plant new trees in their location anyway.
The flying-fox camp is a popular destination for tourists. There is a wonderful opportunity by the owner to develop a viewing centre, to have tourist buses park in the planned car park for a fee, and to have tourists coming to view the flying foxes to patron his café and restaurant, and buy bat souvenirs.
The four roost trees planned to be cut down include a mango tree which is 125 years old. It was planted on 01 August 1890 on Arbor Day, for Queen Victoria’s Jubilee by students of what was then Cairns first school – Cairns Central School. This tree is not only an important roost tree, but is it also a valuable community heritage tree.
Population in steep decline
The total population of Spectacled flying foxes in Far Nth Qld (their natural habitat) has dropped dramatically from 200,000 in 2005 to just 90,000 in 2015, and continues to drop. The Spectacled flying-fox is currently listed by the Qld and Federal governments as ‘vulnerable’ but are in the process of changing to the more serious ‘endangered’ classification.
Cutting down roost trees has seen flying-foxes relocate into trees in Shields St. By cutting down more roost trees there is a real risk the flying-foxes will begin to move into trees on the Esplanade which will create greater management challenges. A broader camp also creates stress, lower fertility levels and higher abortion rates for the flying-foxes.
The Spectacled flying-foxes provide vital eco-services of long distance pollination and seed dispersal to these world heritage areas, which cannot be duplicated by other species, and is complementary to seed dispersal services of the cassowary and fruit pigeons and doves.
These world heritage areas are the backbone of tropical north Queensland's tourism industry.
A PLAN to lobby Cairns Regional Council to plant more bat-friendly trees in the city’s CBD has taken flight during a pro flying fox demonstration on Saturday.
Coffee, tea and biscuits were served as the creatures of the night began their usual evening exodus from the CBD.Dozens of flying mammal fans created a temporary “bat cafe” on Aplin St to show how easy it was to do business among the bats.
Many demonstrators donned their own bat costumes and spoke to passers-by, eager to share information about how the animals contributed to the health of the Wet Tropics.
Environmental Defenders Office of Northern Queensland management committee treasurer Brynn Mathews said creating densely forested areas in the inner city could stop bats from spreading to other, less convenient locations.
The event was held adjacent to a vacant block of land on Aplin St amid fears bat roost trees on the property would soon be removed to make way for a development.
Mr Mathews said he’d like to see the council buy back the parcel and consider “planting it out again”.
“A lot of people don’t see the actual function of bats in the ecosystem,’’ he said.
“They’re a really important seed dispersers and pollinators – their fur gathers pollen and they pass it on to other specimens of the plant – they keep the Wet Tropics’ plant species going.”
Asked whether any bat droppings disrupted their teas or coffees, Mr Mathews said the event went off without a hitch.
“Of course not,” he said.
“The bats know who their friends are.”