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Bats: the only flying mammals
Most people are unaware that bats provide invaluable services to the environment. Fruit agriculture, central to tropical economies, depends to a large extent on the ecological contributions of fruit bats. An estimated 134 plants that yield products used by humans are partially or entirely reliant on bats for seed dispersal or pollination. Bat populations worldwide have declined alarmingly in recent decades. Despite intensified conservation efforts, over half of all bats species are now classified by the International Union for Conservation as threatened or near threatened. Bat species throughout the world need continued protection.

Image:Grey headed flying fox belly dipping copyright Nick Edards

  2014 Flying fox updates
How are our politically problematic flying foxes faring?
The politics of flying foxes becomes stark when you look at Queensland. There, the state had banned shooting because the flying foxes were not killed humanely under state environmental regulations. The new Liberal state government has overturned that regulation, removing the humane aspect explicitly only for flying foxes and issuing shooting licences for orchards. By contrast, the new Liberal state government in NSW promised to end the practice of shooting by June 2014 and with a new environment minister in Rob Stokes with a strong environmental background, Nick Edards from Batwatch has hope for a commitment to end shooting as a crop protection measure in the Sydney region.
September update: netting and shooting
A Grey Area: Nick Edards, from Batwatch, provides an update on moves to lessen the impacts of licenced shooting on Grey-headed flying foxes. These are the positive regional extension of 50% subsidies for farmers to net their orchards and the disappointing delay in the commitment to stop issuing licences to shoot Grey-headed flying foxes as a method of crop protection in the Sydney and Central Coast regions that was due to go ahead at the beginning of July 2014.

  Care Taker
Sarah Curran details how she rehabilitates injured bats and uses her studies of physiotherapy to enhance their likelihood of survival.

  A scary ghost (bat) story
Ghost bats were a common species to the Riversleigh region, even ten years after the arrival of cane toads. However, they have not been sighted at Riversleigh for several years. Ghost bats eat frogs but nothing was known about whether they ate cane toads or what effect they might have had. Dr Arthur White outlines the effects of cane toads on ghost bats in the Riversleigh World Heritage Area and also it has been found, in Kakadu.

  Bats and backyard fruit trees...
Every year, large numbers of flying-foxes become entangled in protective netting which loosely covers backyard fruit trees. The injuries sustained are horrific, often causing a painful and slow death. These can largely be avoided by use of suitable netting that is secured correctly or by simple, inexpensive solutions such as strategic placement of shade cloth.

  A matter of Trust
Nick Edards, from Batwatch, looks at the effects of the recent Sydney and NSW South Coast heatwaves and the forced eviction of grey-headed flying foxes from the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney.

  Hot spot: heat stress and flying foxes
Nick Edards, from Batwatch, reports on the consequences of the latest heatwave in NSW on its flying fox population. Flying foxes, especially young ones suffer dreadfully from high heat and low humidity.

  Bat raps (series)
Unexpected encounters with flying foxes have a strange way of having a lasting effect on people. This series presents the paths this has led three dedicated individuals.
Raising an orphaned baby flying fox
Totally smitten - by a flying fox
Hanging in there - rehabilitating injured flying foxes

Peter Noble created his BAT RAP to draw attention to the plight of our Grey headed flying foxes

  The right mix
It will take community awareness and education as well as legislation to protect threatened flying foxes

  Flying foxes and issues of environmental law
This series of interviews has been placed in the category titled  'Environmental Law - more than just an act?'.

  What's so special about bats' wings?
An amazing adaptation that makes bats the only nonavians that have mastered flight

  How long do flying foxes and micro bats live?
For both flying foxes and micro bats, data on lifespan are still rather sketchy - but captive bats have lived over 20 years.

  Can bats walk or crawl?
Unlike birds, bats have sacrificed much of their hind limb muscle mass and strength in order to fly.

  How do flying foxes clean themselves?
Flying foxes spend many hours a day grooming, making it one of the most important things they do to keep themselves healthy.

  How do bats and flying foxes raise their young?
Bats are placental mammals, with the foetus developing within the mother's uterus and raise their young within the species' particular social group.

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