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Battle against Jericho bats begins


THE Environment Department has issued its fourth permit in six months to allow people to break up flying fox camps, with the latest at Jericho in the west.

It brings to reality a prediction in August by scientists and conservationists that the Government would cave in to community pressure on the vexing issue.

Permits also have been issued to Gatton, Barcaldine and Gayndah.

Environment Minister Vicky Darling yesterday gave permission to Barcaldine Regional Council to trim and cut down trees to stop flying foxes roosting in the township of Jericho.

Up to 12,000 little red flying foxes previously lived in the roost adjacent to the Capricorn Highway but recently moved to a new roosting site on nearby Jordan Creek.

The council will be allowed six months to carry out the work as long as flying foxes do not return to the site or use nearby areas.

"In that time, the council must also prepare a long-term plan to manage vegetation at the roost to deter flying foxes from returning to the site," Ms Darling said.

"Living near flying fox roosts can be distressing and I am very sympathetic to residents' concerns.

"The permit applies only to the vacated roost site and does not authorise the removal of vegetation at the Jordan Creek site."

In August, about 30,000 little red flying foxes were moved from Barcaldine about 90km away. Although it is not known if these are the same animals, Griffith University wildlife expert Darryl Jones predicted then they would become someone else's problem.

Queensland Conservation Council chairman Simon Baltais said the Environment Department was not addressing the root cause of the problem which was habitat clearing.

Flying foxes arrived in Barcaldine after Cyclone Larry in 2008 and again after Cyclone Yasi last year.

Ms Darling said flying foxes played a crucial role in the environment as pollinators of native plants and trees and were protected under the Nature Conservation Act.

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Megabats and Microbats: Battle against Jericho bats begins
Battle against Jericho bats begins
Battle against Jericho bats begins
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Megabats and Microbats
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