A LARGE bat, with wings so white they’re almost translucent, could stop a limestone mine proposed for Cape York going ahead.
The ghost bat (macroderma gigas) is Australia’s largest micro-bat and was on Thursday declared vulnerable to extinction.
The listing has prompted calls from the Australian Conservation Foundation for governments to step up protection for the species, and others in the area, by ruling out mining at Melody Rocks, west of Cooktown.
It claims the site and associated cave systems are the only known breeding site in Australia for the large-eared horseshoe bat (rhinolophus philippinensis) and Semon’s leaf-nosed bat (hipposideros semoni), with an adjacent cave system supporting the largest known breeding population of ghost bats in Queensland.
“If allowed to go ahead, this mine could irreversibly destroy some of the best known habitat for at least three nationally threatened species,” said ACF Northern Australia campaigner Andrew Picone.