The Grey Headed Flying Foxes are sentient beings of the Australian forest often
roosting near rivers. These like all other Australian wildlife are as much a
part of, and intertwined with Australia as the Great Barrier Reef. They have
evolved with the trees and other plants in a synergistic relationship, which is
the jigsaw of overlapping pieces that is Australia. Take away any part, a thread
out of this complex tapestry and the incredible beauty and magic that exists
here will fade, fray and eventually fall apart with the loss of the amazing
diversity which holds it all together.
Having a quick drink as flying foxes do.
The above photo by, and with permission from Ofer Levy.
Some of this has already happened with the loss of some species like the
Thylacine. Many species have been recorded as extinct. There is no doubt there are others.
unrecorded that have been lost. But we didn't even notice, nor did we sense,
our environment out of kilter to some degree.
The Grey Headed Flying Foxes are long distance travellers, night pollinators of
plants, who also disperse invaluable seed widely. There are few if any
pollinators or seed distributors that fly the distances that are traversed by
The evolution of bat pollination: a phylogenetic perspective
"We propose that flower-visiting bats provide two important benefits to plants: they deposit
large amounts of pollen and a variety of pollen genotypes on plant stigmas and,
compared with many other pollinators, they are long-distance pollen
The Grey Headed Flying Foxes have been persecuted in Victoria since white
settlement. It cannot be dismissed or condoned by any thinking person. It can be
explained because the early settlers of Australia arrived at an opinion, widely
distributed and never questioned.
We're more enlightened but just as prejudiced
and can call on greater knowledge now. But for some people, anything which moves and is
perceived to threatened something they own, their crops therefore their
livelihood has to be eliminated so it's gone forever.
The Grey Headed Flying Foxes had been coming to Victoria long before Australia
was the target of white settlement. They came to feed upon the blossom of the
trees that were then plentiful, before they were cleared by the people who
settled here. When they returned after the white settlers arrived they found
devastation, their food source depleted and roosting areas limited. Did they
find new and different fruit, how many orchards were there in the East Gippsland
area when the first settlers cleared the land? Even if there was one introduced
fruit tree that they tested for taste, they would have been attacked by these
evil smelling aliens and slaughtered in their hundreds. They would have had no
experience of such noise and savagery.
They are so very important to us all. Humans, who often enough boast about being the clever species, always in pursuit of our own selfish ends, can certainly find ways to minimise or completely eliminate any inconvenience to flying foxes by changing our uncaring selfish ways.