Government legislation

The Federal and State Legislation on flying-fox management and protection is currently very weak and needs to be amended to protect one of Australia’s most important native species. Land clearing legislation still allows for massive prime wildlife habitat to be destroyed. Colony dispersals are still permitted and carried out despite the scientific evidence stating they are not effective and do little but waste rate payers’ money, stress an already struggling species and cause fatalities to the flying-foxes.

Most shameful is the Queensland Government’s reinstatement of a damage mitigation permit (DMP) on National Threatened Species Day in 2012. These permits allow the lawful shooting of flying-foxes for crop protection. It is illegal to shoot flying-foxes in Queensland without a DMP, while in other states of Australia, it is illegal for any reason. The shooting of flying-foxes is ineffective and inhumane, a fact supported by an independent investigation by the Queensland Animal Welfare Advisory Committee. This is due to the extreme difficulty of killing a dark moving animal at night humanely. Only 8% of flying-foxes are killed outright. The majority are left to die a slow painful death. In addition, as shooting can occur throughout the year including in baby season, babies who have lost their mothers die of dehydration and starvation back in the colony.

Currently all species of flying-foxes are protected species in name only. The grey-headed flying-fox is listed as vulnerable to extinction and is only found in Australia, and the spectacled flying-fox is now listed as endangered. Although DMP state that spectacled flying-foxes may not be shot, it is near impossible to tell the different species apart at night. Even experienced carers have difficulty with this, yet the current legislation gives orchard farmers the power to make a decision about species. Shooting has never deterred hungry flying-foxes from open orchards and never will.

How you can help:

  • If you are an orchard farmer, we understand your need to protect your livelihood; using wildlife friendly netting could provide better protection. Please see our netting section.
  • Plant native flowering shrubs and trees such as Eucalyptus and Melaleuca around the property. Flying-foxes will always prefer their native food source and it is only out of desperation they resort to invasive species.
  • Support your local farmers by purchasing Australian owned and grown products so they can afford more humane measures to protect their crops.
  • Contact your state and federal representative to discuss damage mitigation permits and the impact they have on Australia’s flying-foxes.

For further information please see below.

Fact and Fable, Flying-foxes and Fruit Crops (PDF)
Report ‘Why NSW Should Ban the Shooting of Flying-foxes’ endorsed by 55 conservation, animal welfare and wildlife rescue organisations (PDF)
‘Report on deaths and injuries to Grey-headed Flying-foxes, Pteropus poliocephalus shot in an orchard near Sydney, NSW’ which highlights the extreme cruelty of shooting flying-foxes (PDF)
Statement of support from fruit growers opposed to shooting (PDF)



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