Bat shooting fix triggers doubts
By Stephen Smiley and Frances Adcock
Posted May 15, 2012 10:11:27
A Mount Isa resident leading the fight to control tens of thousands of flying foxes in the north-west Queensland city, says issuing permits to shoot them will not help.
The State Government says it will issue some farmers with permits to kill flying foxes as a last resort.
The animals can spread the potentially deadly hendra virus and have caused major concern in Queensland towns, including Mount Isa, Charters Towers, Barcaldine, Gayndah and Bargara.
Mount Isa Bat Committee spokeswoman Thelma Parker says for six months of the year, flying foxes are out of control in the city and the Government should be focusing on needs in urban areas as well.
"I think for us is that ... we need to know what's going to happen because the bats are going to come again," she said.
"For us to live in a residential area, it certainly is frightening stuff - it becomes a health hazard."
Meanwhile, a conservation group says it is disappointed with the move to allow some farmers the power to shoot flying foxes.
Wildlife Queensland spokesman Des Boylen says shooting flying foxes is the easy solution but there are better options.
"There's a lot of farmers actually that have already netted and the nets work successfully," he said.
"If the farmers can't afford it, then arrange low-interest loans or even subsidise the cost of netting."
Mr Boylen says there are other ways to go about removing the bats.
"You can protect your crops from flying fox attacks by other methods other than the inhuman ways like shooting them," he said.
"The animal welfare committee recommended against using a shotgun."