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10 November 2010 - Flying Fox dispersal challenge in Court      

Flying Fox dispersal challenge in Court

10 November 2010 

Court proceedings will begin tomorrow in Sydney’s Federal Court, when the hearing will commence regarding the Commonwealth Environment Minister Peter Garrett's decision to approve the dispersal of grey-headed flying-foxes from Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney. The Minister’s ruling is being challenged in the Federal Court by Bat Advocacy NSW.

"We are concerned that the Minister may not have taken into account some very important matters when making his decision,” said Bat Advocacy's Nick Edards, “It is our view that these shortcomings have resulted in a decision that is neither in the interests of the flying-foxes nor the people who live in the vicinity of the Royal Botanic Gardens.”

The matters Bat Advocacy believes require review include the failure of the Federal Environment Minister to consider the loss of critical habitat to the grey-headed flying-foxes, the 29 year approval period for the dispersal, the social impacts of the relocation, and the failure to consider information regarding previous attempted flying-fox dispersals.

Bat Advocacy's challenge has wide support in the conservation community.

"Humane Society International sees this as a very important case which we hope will help demonstrate the importance of critical habitat for all species, not just the grey-headed flying-foxes," said HSI’s Senior Program Manager, Alexia Wellbelove. "It should also clarify the importance of critical habitat and the need for greater protection for threatened species from such proposals. It is because of these broader implications that HSI is providing financial support to Bat Advocacy to enable them to meet the majority of the inevitable legal costs".

“Bat Advocacy appreciates the support of Humane Society International and our solicitors the Environmental Defenders Office in this matter,” said Nick Edards, “and we look forward to the matter being considered by the court”.

The hearing is expected to take place over two days, Thursday 11th and Friday 12th November. Contacts from HSI and Bat Advocacy will be available for interview at the Federal Court on both days.

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