July field trip – Rowes Bay – This Sunday from 8.30am: Sunday’s excursion will look at the Rowes Bay wetlands boardwalk behind the Council’s Sustainability Centre, before moving on to follow the ethno-botanical trail up Jezzine’s Garabarra Hill.

Meeting time and place: 8.30am at the Council’s Sustainability Centre on the Pallarenda Road. Drive past the RSL villas and you will see a carpark on the left-hand side of the road. We will walk in from there and follow the fence round to the boardwalk.

What to bring: hats, sunscreen, repellent, binoculars, cameras, water. Afterwards we will drive to where Cook Street intersects with the Rowes Bay Esplanade in order to access Garabarra Hill. For those with time to spare we can finish up with coffee at the Rockpool cafe or find a quiet spot to gather in the Jezzine parklands. 

Flying-foxes at Dan Gleeson Gardens: If you read the Townsville Bulletin or regularly travel along Thuringowa Drive you will be aware that the usually small colony of flying-foxes at the far end of Dan Gleeson Gardens has dramatically increased in size. The Little Red species predominates and the females are currently raising babies born in May and June. The large numbers are unprecedented at this site and because they are occupying such a small area there has been defoliation of some trees and even broken limbs arising from this species’ habit of roosting together in bunches of up to 30 individuals. Wonderfully dedicated wildlife carers have been visiting daily to rescue babies that have fallen or otherwise become separated from their mothers. 

The Council has now erected a high fence to prevent public access to some areas of the Gardens. New signs emphasise that there is no risk to public health unless people (other than carers) start trying to pick up fallen animals. We are in touch with the Council and support their sensible approach in what is a difficult situation. We have also attempted to counter the alarmist headlines in the media which scream “plague” “disease risk” etc. We don’t know why so many of the Little Reds have arrived at this time of year, though the current flowering of melaleucas and some eucalypts in the area would be a powerful attractant. In a few weeks the colony will doubtless shrink back to its former proportions, or move on entirely, as the flowering cycle changes and the babies become capable of flight.

If you hear or read of anti-bat sentiments these are a few points to bear in mind – and please pass on to anyone who will listen!

  • as adult females only produce one infant per year it is impossible for any  flying-fox species to breed in “plague proportions” or experience “population explosions.”
  • there is no health risk to humans from simply living, working, walking or playing near a colony. Safe and 100% effective medical treatment is available for anyone who handles a bat and receives a bite or scratch. Government figures indicate that less than 1% of the wild population of bats carry the ABL virus.
  • flying-foxes are essential health-providers for our forests and woodlands and are often driven into towns and cities because of loss of food sources and roosting habitats in what’s left of the bush
  • more information in our May 2013 post and from a variety of other sources – just ask!

UNESCO stays strong on the Reef: The World Heritage Committee meeting in Qatar voted not to weaken their position on how they view the condition of the GBR and the threats facing it. While delegates acknowledged the progress that has been made in some areas, particularly regarding water quality, the risk of the GBR being placed on the “in danger” list remains. The Australian and Queensland governments will need to lift their game, especially with regard to their current willingness to approve massive dredging and dumping operations which was obviously of great concern to delegates. On the matter of governance, many delegates also expressed grave concerns at Canberra’s intention to hand over decision-making, assessment and approval powers to the Queensland government. For more information and analysis see  the latest edition of Wildlife News or the NQCC site for a more condensed summary.

Ben Lomond Uranium Mine – Rally on Sunday July 27th 9am. Most of you will be aware of the proposal to re-open the uranium mine at Ben Lomond. Mining at this location poses a major environmental risk because of its proximity to Keelbottom Creek which flows directly into the Burdekin. The local group CAMBL – Citizens Against Mining Ben Lomond – will be holding a rally to protest against Ben Lomond mine activity on Sunday week, 27th July. Meet at 9am the Burke Street headland (close to the Aquarius) in order to proceed along the Strand to the Rockpool. 


Comments are closed.