Gayndah bat plague falling, authorities say
Posted September 19, 2011 13:10:26
The number of flying foxes roosting in the town of Gayndah in Queensland's North Burnett region is falling.
The Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) says a count on Friday puts the colony at 15,000.
Last month, the council was given a permit to relocate the animals which then numbered around 300,000.
North Burnett Mayor Joy Jensen says she is hoping the pruning of trees along the banks of the Burnett River in Gayndah will begin this week.
DERM approved the measure as a way to contain the town's red flying fox colony.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) spokesman Clive Cook says the remaining flying foxes are teenagers and will move on in their own time.
"As the flying fox roost has basically contracted in size as the numbers fly out, we're able to sort of move along the edges and trim the vegetation to discourage the flying foxes from moving back to that area," he said.
Councillor Jensen says a count last week has found the bat population is falling.
"There's been no trimming whatsoever and no forced relocation - these bats have left of their own accord," he said.
"Once we get the written authority to proceed with some trimming, we hope we can be in on that river bank and start tidying up and trimming some of those trees that have been vacated by these bats.
"This is the window of opportunity we were looking for, as soon as we get that authority from DERM we'll be in there.
"We knew that there would be a very brief opportunity given between when these bats vacate the river bank and when some of these black flying foxes that have come in.
"They're expected to give birth in October."