Andrew Potts, Sun Community Newspapers | 12:01am May 23, 2012
A SWELLING bat population has prompted a city councillor to call for a controversial cull of the protected creatures.
Southport councillor Dawn Crichlow has asked the State Government to institute an urban version of its proposal to grant crop growers permits to kill bats in a bid to prevent the destruction of their livelihoods.
Cr Crichlow's controversial call comes as she deals with a growing number of complaints over a bat colony at Loders Creek, the surrounding noise and ensuing amenity issues.
Although the Government has said it would issue the permits only as a last resort, Cr Crichlow said many residents were at their wits end because of a 2000-strong bat colony at Loders Creek.
"All current methods have shown bats cannot be controlled so culling them is the only alternative," she said.
"We need this fast-tracked and brought here given there is one location in Southport where more than 140 elderly people are forced to live with the smell of bat droppings every day.
"I am glad the Government has acknowledged these creatures are a problem but we need to move quickly and do something about it to put residents at ease."
The Gold Coast City Council is tracking up to 28 bat colonies across the region as part of a $186,000 flying fox management plan.
Another major colony is off Carrara's Gooding Drive, less than 4km from Metricon Stadium.
Gecko president Lois Levy slammed the proposal as cruel.
"Bat culling is not the way to go because they are protected animals and there are always alternatives," she said.
"Unless they are shot in the head and die immediately the bats can suffer long and painful deaths from a body shot.
"People must realise the only reason these creatures are inhabiting our suburbs is because we have destroyed their natural habitats."
Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell said the Government had a very "balanced" approach to the management of flying foxes and was aware of the need to co-exist with the species.
"We need to distinguish between small colonies residing in the backyards of many rural properties many of these bats are welcomed by property owners, even encouraged and huge congregations, some in excess of 100,000 in places such as Charter Towers, Gayndah, Barcaldine and Bargara," Mr
"At this stage there is no intent to use lethal damage mitigation permits (DMPs) in urban areas.
"The intent is to still look at relocating bats. There are non-lethal measures which councils and landowners will be asked to use to move on
nuisance colonies. Lethal DMPs will be issued to farmers only as an absolute last resort."