Council recently applied for a Damage Mitigation Permit to disperse the spectacled flying-fox colony from around the city library. This application has now been referred to the Federal Government as the species is a federally listed protected species. The proposal is open for public comment on the EPBC website.
The decision to relocate the colony was passed by Council in June with Councillors Rob Pyne, Julia Leu, Richie Bates and Linda Cooper voting against the relocation.
What does Council intend to do?
Council plans to trim the trees used by the flying-foxes to under 10 metres in height (reduce them by one third of current height). If trimming the trees fails to disperse the colony, Council plans to remove these trees.
The trees in question are large native fig trees (weeping fig, Moreton Bay fig and white fig) and some large mango trees.
Why is this a problem?
The dispersal would be expensive and unlikely to succeed.
Past dispersals show that flying-foxes are likely to return to the original location or move to other problematic locations within 600m of the original site. The colony is currently in a low-impact location and is best left where it is.
The spectacled flying-fox is an important pollinator and seed disperser and helps to keep the rainforest healthy.
Moving the colony would cause unnecessary stress for this protected species.
The colony is a popular tourist attraction, regularly drawing crowds of visitors. We should make the most of our native wildlife – this is why many tourists come to Cairns.
The trees around the library provide important habitat for many other species, as well as making the CBD a beautiful place to be.
When will this happen?
Council is aiming to conduct the dispersal before the breeding season which starts around October this year.
How can I have my say?
1. Sign our petition to the Mayor. We will be meeting with him next week to present these petition results, so get in quick.
2. Contact the Mayor directly to voice your concerns – email@example.com or phone 4044 3083.
3. Contact the Federal Environment Minister Mark Butler to let him know this protected species needs his help -Mark.Butler.MP@nullenvironment.gov.au or phone (02) 6277 7920.
4. Make a submission on the EPBC referral (view documents here) by emailing your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 July.