20 Jun, 2012
BAT WORRIES: Ed Jansen fears the smelly and noisy flying fox population roosting close to homes in Batemans Bay is a health risk and no-one in authority cares.
A Batemans Bay grandfather fears authorities will only act to rid the town of its rapidly growing flying fox population when someone dies after contracting the deadly Hendra virus.
“This species is a reservoir of the Hendra virus, they are immune but they carry it,” Ed Jansen claimed despite health assurances by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
With thousands of the bats roosting just metres from the backyard of his inner Batemans Bay home, the stench is overwhelming and Mr Jansen is now a very worried man.
He said bat excrement covered driveways, roofs, and cars, and he had become so frightened for the health of his daughter and grandchildren, who live with him, that the children are not allowed to play in the sandpit because of the excreta dropping in it from overhead.
Mr Jansen has disconnected his water tank because its drinking water was contaminated by the bats in the runoff from the roof.
His vegetable garden is hit by their waste and he also worries about the health of his chooks.
Mr Jansen likens it to living in “ground zero” when the critters in their thousands circle overhead screeching each morning and evening as they arrive and depart from their roosts in she-oaks at Eurobodalla Shire Council’s Water Gardens.
“I feel our local politicians are letting us down. They don’t seem to get a grasp of the situation, how bad it is to live with,” Mr Jansen said.
“They (the flying foxes) have been here for months and I hoped the first frosts would send them away but they won’t go.
“This Hendra virus can jump species. It has killed horses and I’m worried about my dogs and others (neighbours).
“I have been told that ferrets can get the virus, so there is a risk if anyone has one for a pet and contracts Hendra.
“We could have an epidemic and people could die.”
Mr Jansen said the Water Gardens were full of birdlife, including ducks, with the flying foxes polluting the water they drink with excreta.
Mr Jansen and his equally worried neighbour Ken Burn, who has already spoken out about the bats, want the colony moved away from the town and back into the bush.
They do not want them harmed but instead moved out to a more appropriate bush neighbourhood.
Both men noted that the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney this month, after over 20 years, had finally got rid of its flying foxes by using constant noise played via loudspeakers to disrupt their roost.