Bats out of Hell

Why is it so easy to lose perspective on environmental issues? With so many regulatory organisations and frameworks, multiple perceptions on the “right” way to conserve or protect, Media interference, and the ghosts of environmental lessons from the past breathing down our neck, it is easy to feel like you’re living inside an Escher drawing when you try and dissect any of today’s environmental concerns.

Take the Hendra virus issue currently making news along Australia’s east coast. Horses are dying after contracting the virus from flying foxes and people are dying after contracting the virus from horses. Now other domestic animals are proving susceptible to the virus, including dogs, cats and guinea pigs.

I don’t wish to resort to dramatic statements, but there is no other way to say it – entire human communities are being plagued by bat colonies, with many sleep-deprived residents living in fear of their health. My mother is one of these – she has been putting up with a flying fox colony that likes to roost in a eucalypt just outside her bedroom window for nearly 10 years. The colony started off small and only visited occasionally. Over the last few years their numbers have swelled and their loyalty to mum’s tree has been cemented. She averages about 3 or 4 intermittent hours of sleep a night and spends hours most weeks scrubbing bat excrement off her roof, to no avail (her water supply is from a rainwater tank). Continue reading