Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bat Problem (Sydney, Australia)

The immediate east of the city of Sydney is flanked by magnificent parklands and gardens. The Royal Botanic Gardens started as the first farm in Australia in 1788 and became Australia’s first botanic gardens in 1816 (founded by the visionary Governor Macquarie), less than 30 years after the colony was settled. Trees from the original days still remain in the magnificent open gardens and many thousands stroll around and through the gardens every day. Eminent folks such as the Queen and the Pope have planted memorial trees over the years and in spring the gardens are a riot of colour and a perfumery of aromas.

The gardens are home to the stunning but incongruous Government House, built in the 1840s like a Gothic Castle. Until recently, it was the home to the Governor of New South Wales but now is purely ceremonial (free guided tours are available most Fridays).

The gardens are also home to many thousands of native Grey-Headed Flying Foxes (or Fruit Bats). As innocent as these delightful bats appear resting upturned in the trees shrouded by their wings and with inquisitive faces, they have sadly continued to destroy a number of the century old trees in the gardens.

The problem is how to encourage the flying foxes to move to new surroundings. It is impossible to capture over 20,000 flying foxes and move them to somewhere (they are likely to simply fly back anyway!!). In the next few months, the gardens are going to launch a few weeks of playing loud unpleasant recorded sounds during their sleeping hours including engine noises, crashing metal and sounds of predators to chase these irritating creatures to roost in other groves of trees away from the gardens. To avoid the issue of the bats simply settling in the neighbouring Hyde Park or other nearby attractive areas, the same sounds are going to be played in these locations as well.

While the noise is bound to destroy the tranquil beauty of these superb gardens for a short while, it hopefully will provide a suitable solution to both preserve and naturally relocate the endangered flying foxes and preserve and protect the wonderful old trees of the gardens.


Holidays in India said...

It is looks like a great place for holidays.

Honeymoon in India said...

It's a great place.

Anil said...

I wonder if it will desensitize them to the sounds in the long run. I do like this approach though, seems to be a thoughtful approach where in many other parts of the world the bats would not be as lucky.

Mark H said...

@india: Sydney and its Botanic Gardens are great.

Mark H said...

@anil: I wonder that too. It seems a more pleasant approach than some that may have been considered.

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