Coun­cils learn to live with fruit bats

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - ANDREW GURR

QUEENS­LAND’S re g i o n a l coun­cils have resigned to the fate of co­ex­ist­ing with bats, fol­low­ing a work­shop on fly­ing fox man­age­ment at the Bush Coun­cils Con­ven­tion in Char­ters Tow­ers yes­ter­day.

Hinch­in­brook Shire Coun­cil Mayor Ra­mon Jayo said while he was happy to do noth­ing about the roosts in Ing­ham, his com­mu­nity was not.

“These bats are so close to our peo­ple and our in­fra­struc­ture and they have high nui­sance value, but we can do noth­ing to move them un­less spe­cific ar­eas such as schools or kinder­gartens are com­pro­mised,” Cr Jayo said.

“The rea­son we do noth­ing is be­cause with the le­gal op­tions avail­able to us, there’s re­ally noth­ing that can be done to move them. If you use smoke and water, all you do is chase them around the park and they stay out of your reach and then re­turn to where they were be­fore. We un­der­stand these fly­ing foxes are im­por­tant for the en­vi­ron­ment, but they are sup­posed to con­trib­ute to the ecol­ogy within rain­forests, not in ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments.”

Cr Jayo said his com­mu­nity ac­cepted that the coun­cil’s “hands were tied” due to leg­isla­tive lim­i­ta­tions, and called for fur­ther co- op­er­a­tion with the State Govern­ment.

Lo­gan City Coun­cil Deputy Mayor Cherie Dal­ley said Lo­gan was home to over 100,000 fly­ing foxes and lit­tle could be done to re­move them.

“We have im­ple­mented buf­fer zones but it is still an on­go­ing is­sue that won’t go away in a day, it’s a con­tin­ual process,” Cr Dal­ley said.

“Ev­ery af­fected coun­cil has had a go at clear­ing out their fly­ing foxes and noth­ing has been 100 per cent suc­cess­ful, and so one of the most im­por­tant things we’ve taken away from this is ed­u­cat­ing our com­mu­nity about them.

“You need to dis­pel the com­mon myths around bats and that has been a re­ally pro­duc­tive thing for us and helped the com­mu­nity be­come more un­der­stand­ing.”

Ra­mon Jayo.

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