Yesterday's listing of the Ghost Bat (Macroderma gigas) as vulnerable to extinction comes as the Queensland Government considers a proposal to mine rare habitat on Cape York Peninsula that would further threaten this species, the Australian Conservation Foundation warned today.
The Ghost bat now joins the Large-eared Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus philippinensis) and Semon’s Leaf-nosed Bat (Hipposideros semoni) on the national threatened species list under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.
All three bat species are found within the limestone karst formations currently proposed for mining near Cooktown on Cape York Peninsula.
Independent scientific advice has confirmed the proposed mine site and associated cave systems as the only known breeding site in Australia for two of these three nationally threatened species – with an adjacent cave system supporting the largest known breeding population of Ghost Bats in Queensland.
A proposal to mine limestone from these unique karst systems is currently before the Queensland Government but is yet to be referred to the Federal Government for assessment under the EPBC Act.
“If allowed to go ahead, this mine could irreversibly destroy some of the best known habitat for at least three nationally threatened species,” said Andrew Picone, ACF’s Northern Australia campaigner.
“The Queensland and Federal governments need to step up and protect the Ghost Bat by ruling out mining at the Melody Rocks site near Cooktown.
“Cape York is a biodiversity hotspot and mining is demonstrably incompatible with maintaining these values and contradicts State and Federal conservation objectives.
“You cannot get better value for your conservation effort when you protect habitat for multiple species of national significance at a single site such as this,” Mr Picone said.