Flying-fox Committee Members

The membership of Council's Flying-fox Advisory Committee (FFAC) includes:

  • two elected representatives
  • two invited experts
  • two community representatives
  • one representative from a suitable animal welfare group
  • Council Officers
  • Invited representatives of various local, state and federal government departments.
Dr Martin Cohen - Chair
Dr Cohen has extensive experience and knowledge of the natural history of tropical Australia and has worked as a biologist and wildlife commentator in this region for over 30 years. After successfully completing a PhD in Zoology, Martin has guided eco-tours and expeditions all over Australia, written countless popular wildlife articles, worked with several relevant community groups and presented fascinating information on wildlife and conservation to people from all walks of life.

Since 2000, he has researched and presented wildlife information on television and radio and authored four successful wildlife books. Based in Cairns for over 10 years now, Martin successfully owns and operates his own environmental education business (Wild about Australia). Within this role he regularly consults to local government, leads expeditions around the world and also runs a successful wildlife publishing business (Wild about the Tropics).

More recently he has conducted several assessments and surveys of the Flying-fox populations in the Cairns region and in 2015 was appointed as the inaugural Chairperson of Council’s Flying-fox Advisory Committee.

Martin has been with the committee since it's inception in 2015.

Dr David Westcott

Dr. David Westcott joined CSIRO in 1995 after completing a PhD at the University of British Columbia. He currently leads the Ecosystem Function and Prediction Stream in CSIRO’s Healthy Terrestrial Ecosystems at Atherton, and is responsible for a team of scientists and technical staff studying the ecology of tropical rainforests and landscapes.

David’s expertise is vertebrate movement and landscape ecology, conservation biology, behaviour and evolution. His current projects include identification and impact of invasive pests in the Wet Tropics rainforests; cassowary genetics and population monitoring; biodiversity in Wet Tropics floodplains; predicting and managing invasive spread in rainforest habitats and flying fox ecology and management.

David plays a key role in connecting Council, the committee and CSIRO and has been with the committee since it's inception in 2015.

Maree Treadwell-Kerr

Maree has a long background in delivery of education and interpretation programs on bats with a focus on flying-foxes in Sydney, and is a former bat carer and coordinator with Ku-ring-gai Bat Conservation Society. She is a joint convenor of the Australasian Bat Society’s (ABS) Flying-fox Expert Group and created and coordinated the annual ABS Australasian Bat Night program, a series of local community events run throughout Australasia designed to raise awareness of flying-foxes, including coordinating the Cairns Bat Festival.

Maree holds a Masters of Wildlife Management and her Graduate Diploma was on the "Interactions between Pteropus poliocephalus and habitat within the Ku-ring-gai Flying-fox Reserve, Gordon, Sydney".

Along with being a key member of Council’s Flying-fox Advisory Committee, she is also on the committee of Wildlife Tourism Australia (WTA), is the Queensland State Coordinator for Interpretation Australia and is currently a higher degree candidate at Griffith University studying societal values toward flying-foxes and assessing the efficacy of education/ interpretation programs in influencing attitudes (‘Bat Wars’ – Can flying-fox – human conflict be resolved through education and application of Values Theory?).

Maree has presented to national conferences of Wildlife Tourism Australia (WTA), Australasian Wildlife Management Society, Australasian Bat Society and Interpretation Australia on the subjects of bat tourism, interpretation and flying-fox management.

Maree has been with the committee since it's inception in 2015.

Sera Steves 

Sera Steves

Sera Steves is originally from San Antonio, Texas but has now been living in North Queensland for almost seven years. Sera holds a degree in Biology and is currently furthering her education at JCU, studying Zoology and Ecology performing research on blossom bats and crocodiles.  

Sera has been in the zoo industry for the past 12 years working in both Australia and the United States as a zookeeper, animal trainer and wildlife presenter.  Sera is currently co-authoring a paper in the Journal of Ecotourism after presenting at the Wildlife Tourism Australia conference on Bats and Tourism.  

Her main focus is birds and reptiles but bats have been an interest of hers since she was a child where she grew up with bats in her backyard and a family that loved to facilitate their success.

Sarah joined the committee in March 2017. 

Cr John Schilling
Cr John Schilling - Div 2

Cr Schilling has been with the committee since it's inception in 2015.

Cr Richie Bates

Cr Richie Bates - Div 4

Cr Bates has been with the committee since it's inception in 2015.

 Council Officer - Manager Parks and Leisure

Former committee members:

  • Cr Greg Fennell, December 2015 - March 2016 
  • Connie Kerr, December 2015 - March 2017
  • Heather Owen, December 2015 - January 2017
Former committee members that may return - hidden
Connie Kerr (image: 182071)

Connie was born and grew up on a farm in northern NSW, where she quickly developed a love for animals. Connie spent 15 years working in office administration, developing a strong business background, before becoming involved in wildlife rescue and care in 2000.

Connie now devotes the majority of her time to wildlife care, with her primary love being working with bats. Connie strongly believes that protecting and providing healthy habitat is the cornerstone on which all wildlife depends. Connie looks forward to being able to make a lasting and positive difference to this unique and special environment; for the long-term future and generations to come.

Heather Owen (image: 182072)

Heather has been a wildlife carer for more than ten years, with the last 5 or more years mostly dedicated to bats. Heather is a past secretary and Rescue Centre Manager for FNQ Wildlife Rescue.

Heather works full time but is still involved with bats, as is one of her teenage children, and plays an integral role in caring for and rescuing bats during the busy breeding season.

Heather has worked tirelessly as a liaison between Council and local bat advocates in recent years, retaining good relationships with all involved.

Last updated: 14 August 2017