Tweed Wildlife Carers' Rhonda Miller and Kate Chisolm with three rescued baby bats. Photo Albert Elzinga / Daily News
Tweed Wildlife Carers' Rhonda Miller and Kate Chisolm with three rescued baby bats. Photo Albert Elzinga / Daily News Albert Elzinga

Vandals play havoc with crosses hung to fight bat cull

VANDALS destroyed a number of 'grey crosses' hung at Jack Evans Boat Harbour this weekend which were placed there to protest against the planned shooting of flying foxes in Queensland and NSW.

The inverted crosses, signifying bats hanging upside down, were placed at various spots around the Tweed and different locations in Australia, in an effort to raise awareness of the decision by the NSW and Queensland governments to allow more than 10,000 bats to be shot over the next year.

A protest rally against the Queensland government's decision was held last Saturday outside Parliament House in Brisbane where about 50 protestors asked the government to put a halt to the unnecessarily cruel practice of shooting bats.

"This large-scale killing is totally unacceptable.

"Shooting is the very opposite of what is needed to conserve threatened species.

"Shooting is also unnecessary for crop protection.

"We hope that the grey crosses will evoke compassion for wildlife unjustly subject to cruel killing and trigger a rethink by government decision makers," a Grey Crosses campaign spokesperson said.

As part of the campaign, Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers' Rhonda Miller and Kate Chisolm hung a number of a number of grey crosses at Jack Evans Boat Harbour last Friday night, however, the following day, the duo found their crosses pulled from the trees and ripped up.

Ms Miller said she was very disappointed by the actions of the vandals and felt many people were totally unaware of the plight of flying foxes.

Ms Miller has a number of recovering baby bats in her care and explained some the causes of the animals' difficulties.

Ms Miller said she cared for a black flying fox which was found on its mother's body after the parent was found stuck on a barbed wire fence.

She was also looking after a grey-headed flying fox which fell off its mother's body and another grey-headed bat which was found alone after its parents were electrocuted near Sydney.

"Shooting the bats often only injures them and causes them to die a horribly slow death from starvation or predation.

"When shot, the bats leave their babies behind which then also die excruciatingly slow deaths," Ms Miller said.

Bat Conservation & Rescue Queensland president Louis Saunders said the organisation had experienced one of the worst starts to a season since its inception.

"We've already done 52 netting rescues over the last two weeks.

"The bats get stuck in inappropriate netting put up in backyards by owners trying to protect their fruit trees.

"They end up netting mothers and their babies which are desperate for food due to a current shortage.

"We call the nets 'slice and dice' because that's what they do to the bats," Ms Saunders said.

The grey crosses campaign continues to try and put pressure on the NSW and Queensland governments and organisers are collecting signatures for an online petition which so far has gathered more than 10,000 names.

If you want to join the effort and support the bats, visit thegreycross.org for more information.



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