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.
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. Are we more enlightened, certainly just as prejudiced today; even with greater knowledge? Some landholders and people who imagine they are inconvenienced by wildlife, flying foxes in particular, perceive that anything which moves, and has not been brought into the country for their benefit. Is justifiably destined for death in any way that delivers the desired result. So common and easily explained away as declaring themselves the victim; forgetting they are the trespasser, and Terra nullius was a contrived strategy.
Grey Headed Flying Foxes had been coming to Victoria long before Australia was the target for white settlement. They came to feed upon the blossom of the trees that were then plentiful, before the land cleared by the people off the boats who settled in the state. A few trees remaining show that forests of yellow box, iron bark, and many other valuable sources of blossom and valuable timber covered the landscape.
When flying foxes returned after the white settlers, convicta and those who were to administer them arrived, and started to destroy the forests, to create areas much as the land from which they had been expelled. Our native flying foxes found devastation, their food source depleted and roosting areas limited. How many might have perished from starvation at that point expecting to find food in abundance and disappointed to death at the trees cut down and windrowed for burning? Did they find new and different fruit? Were there any orchards that were producing from young fruit trees? Were there any in the East Gippsland area after 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. Flying foxes would have had no experience of such noise and savagery.
Uncontrolled commercial interests of government of Victoria, are still destroying forest areas with the most wasteful and destructive methods of logging that were ever devised. Much like the the forests of the Amazon, and the scale, if not as large in one local, across the country; not all that different in size. This destruction is sanctioned by government directly and indirectly by their environment department finding ways to circumvent the laws that have been legislated to protect wildlife; permitting land to be cleared for development, farming and non essential projects. The flying foxes, among other wildlife, are the victims of these actions.
Grey Headed Flying Foxes are so very important to us all. Humans and other species. Humans often enough boast about being the clever species; yet destroy other species that are important to the survival of our own species. Time to change track and really attempt being clever, and start caring. By caring about, protecting and conserving the flora and fauna that make up the other threads of the tapestry of life that holds us in place. We secure the future for our children and their children and each child into the future.