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Coolum residents' batty over flying-fox issue


Frusted Coolum resident Greg Onions talks about the flying foxes back in Coolum. Photo: Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast DailyPatrick Woods

COOLUM'S flying foxes are back, driving residents batty again.

Three months after Sunshine Coast Council's $140,0000 program to drive out the flying foxes with smoke, lights and noises in the Cassia Wildlife Corridor, 40% have returned.

Greg Onions, a resident near the wildlife corridor, said the neighbourhood had enjoyed "about a month" of silence before the flying foxes started to return.

The council has begun more non-lethal flying fox dispersal action this week in the hope the mammals will finally get the message they are not welcome.

Division nine councillor Stephen Robinson said: "Flying foxes have been gradually coming back to the Cassia Wildlife Corridor since dispersal actions finished at the end of May.

"There are currently around 800 to 1000 flying foxes back within the camp which is around 40% of the original population."

The council has only a limited window of opportunity to deal with the problem.

RELATED VIDEO: Council gives green light to disperse Coolum flying foxes

"Council recommenced non-lethal dispersal actions this morning (yesterday) and will continue only until Thursday because we're fast approaching a point in the flying fox breeding cycle where it wouldn't be safe for the animals for us to perform these actions," Cr Robinson said.

The council had to defer a planned action on flying foxes on July 22 last year after it was noted some of the animals, a nationally threatened species, were pregnant.

Mr Onions has lived in his Coolum home near the wildlife corridor for 34 years, but only noticed the flying foxes move in over the past four years.

"In all that time we hardly ever saw a bat before," he said.

He said the flying foxes had moved to a different part of the corridor and hopefully that indicated they had a memory of the actions that drove them away.

He understood after the disperal action, five colonies had "moved within 20 minutes of the Cassia Wildlife corridor".

The dispersal program at Coolum will inform council's approach to roosts at other sites it is monitoring.

A council spokesman said: "A report detailing flying fox management and outcomes over the last 18 months will be presented to council in late 2014."

Council has already carried out vegetation buffer works at Maroochydore's Tepequar Dr roost site, incorporating the Stella Maris Catholic School, and "is still awaiting approval from the Federal Government and the Archdiocese of Brisbane to carry out dispersal actions".

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Megabats and Microbats: Coolum residents' batty over flying-fox issue
Coolum residents' batty over flying-fox issue
Coolum residents' batty over flying-fox issue
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