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The Habitat Restoration Project is vital to the long term conservation of roosting trees for the maternity colony of Grey-headed Flying Foxes near Sydney, Australia. Dr. Merlin Tuttle’s 1985 visit sparked protection of these bats in New South Wales (see BATS, March 1986). The habitat is now threatened by deterioration and death of trees, accelerated by excess drainage from nearby roads and homes. Rampant vines and weeds are preventing growth of replacement trees.
At last some success! Bob Carr, the Minister for Environment, whom you [Dr. Tuttle] met in December 1985, presented our Chairman, Elizabeth Hartnell, and I with a check for $7,000, which will be repeated for the next three years for the Habitat Restoration Project at the Ku-ring-gai Bat Colony.
We are hopeful that the further $13,000 can be obtained from private enterprise now that the Minister has emphasized the importance of flying foxes so effectively. He remembers your visit well and your statements about the bats being important pollinators over wide areas and essential to rainforest regeneration. We are now experiencing the effect of your visit.
The bat colony is also featured in a Heritage Exhibition in Sydney. Helen George [see BATS, June 1986], Elizabeth and I were invited to the opening by the Minister. Of course, we took “Gollum” the bat and cornered the Minister before he opened the Exhibition. A report in the Sydney Morning Herald included a photograph of Elizabeth and I looking at the plastic (ugh!) bats in the exhibition. Committee members will show a live Grey-headed Flying Fox to the public every Sunday from April to June.
We also have been clearing the weeds in the colony with a volunteer team. Our relations with the Mayor and Council officers are excellent, and they are helping in practical ways such as removing the rubbish, drainage and herbicide.
Thank you for being the catalyst.
Ku-ring-gai Bat Colony Committee
New South Wales, Australia
Letters to the Editor may be edited for clarity and length.