Relocation of Spectacled flying foxes from the Cairns library
Cairns Regional Council began working with the Federal Government for a permit to relocate the flying foxes in 2012 and finally had their permit under the EPBC Act in 2020. Final approval During these 8 years there were many submissions ABS submission on both sides of the fence arguing for and against the slow removal of trees that were roosting trees. Most of the trees that were removed were in a single line around a busy inner city block opposite the library, bounded on one side by a tourist resort and the other by potentially hot concrete and bitumen. In the opinion of this author it was never a functional urban flying fox camp. It was not set back in a park. Every year carers found large numbers of abandoned pups and aborted foetuses. No other camp in Australia has this degree of mortality. With the removal of 23 trees and the death of one of the library trees, this camp became unsalvageable. The stress on the remaining four trees put their survival at risk.
The vast majority of people working directly with flying foxes in Australia understood these arguments and supported the Council once the permit was approved. A very small group of protesters, none of them bat workers, attended the relocation each morning and circulated a lot of misinformation on social media. However the relocation was effective from the first day, 4 July 2020. No flying foxes roosted at the library for the next 40 days. We will keep this page updated from time to time.