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Little Red Megabats are back with a vengeance Flying-fox Fruit bat


BATS GALORE: Ken Boston, of Casino, has thousands of bats in the trees at the back of his property and, below, bats dropping from the trees due to extreme heat stress in Casino last year.

CASINO'S temporary colony of little red flying foxes are back this summer with a vengeance.

The estimated 50,000-strong colony arrived in the first week of January and has showed no sign of leaving.

The visiting population is distinct from the smaller permanent colony of black flying foxes decimated in last November's heatwave.

They usually move on by the end of January, so have certainly outstayed their welcome with Casino residents.

"It's clearly affecting people's lives," Richmond Valley Council general manager, John Walker, said.

"They literally cannot go out of their homes.
"Someone described it as when they go off for their nightly foraging the (bat) droppings are like rain.

"Everyone's frustrated; we've been receiving lots of questions and comments about what we're doing about it.

"They're basically eating their way down the river.

"I think there are more this year than last year … the smell seems worse this year."

The council is preparing a new five-year management plan for the colony, which is expected to be submitted to the Office of Environment and Heritage by April.

The plan includes creating buffer zones between the colony and humans by removing vegetation, the removal of trees which pose a health and safety risk, and controversial "camp disturbance" using noise, water, smoke or light to relocate the bats.

But WIRES bat carer Lib Ruytenberg said aggressively attempting to move bats on pointlessly distressed the animals.

She regarded it as "animal cruelty".

"They're like frightened rabbits in a corner," Ms Ruytenberg said.

"They've already got limited habitat and if you try to direct them it's only going to stress them."

"All they do is fly up into the air in an agitated manner. The idea of making noise and smoke … I regard it as animal cruelty."

Ms Ruytenberg said the bats would soon have to move on anyway, to prepare for birthing season in Queensland.

"The thing is they're on a biological clock," she said.

"The females give birth in May, and they do it in central Queensland.

"They've got to get their little selves up there by then, so they should be moving on any day now."

Mr Walker said the council's issue was the effect the bats had on humans in a town setting, and it would focus on trimming the riverbank trees near town to encourage the bats to move.


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Megabats and Microbats: Little Red Megabats are back with a vengeance Flying-fox Fruit bat
Little Red Megabats are back with a vengeance Flying-fox Fruit bat
Little red flying foxes are back with a vengeance
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Megabats and Microbats
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