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Charters Towers Regional Council war on bats may not be long-term fix


AS Charters Towers Regional Council use everything in their arsenal for the next week to ensure they are victorious in their war against roosting bats, wildlife carers warn that scaring the mammals is not a long-term fix.

Mayor Frank Beveridge said council was forced to call in two helicopters, smoke machines, paintball guns, lawnmowers and fireworks ­after other measures failed to frighten away the colony of black and red flying foxes in Lissner Park.

"We are more than pleased with the results and have moved the vast majority, but we understand that ­every day is different," he said.

But wildlife Carer Priska Sussli argued that said the flying fox dispersal program was pointless because there was nothing in place to stop the bats ­returning.

"All they are doing is stirring them up and dispersing into neighbouring properties,'' she said.

"`There is no dedicated area to house them."

"Council will have to do this every day for the rest of the year if they want it to be effective.

"All it has done is cost ratepayers money and given Charters Towers a bad reputation in the world.

"It would have been better if they had cleverly done something in town to make the bats a tourism attraction."

Ms Sussli said despite seeing no casualties to date, she expected that to change in coming days.

"A lot of the baby bats are going to be left behind and die of dehydration because they are too young to fly, but are also too big to attach to their mothers," she said.

"The council has also been using paint balls and if one of those hits a bat it will break bones and cause extensive damage."

Cr Beveridge said protesters had been civil despite being a little ­'excited' about their work from time to time.

"There was a lot of pressure from environmentalists over the fatality rate before we started,'' he said,

"I know they have a job to do, but they have to understand that we are doing everything in our power to ­ensure the safety of the animals.

"We have had two bats that fell out of a tree, but that was before we actually started the operation.

"The operation is being very closely managed. We having been talking to Parks and Wildlife Service and vets to make sure we are being as humane as possible."

The council are planning to compile everything learnt from the ­operation into a long-term management plan to deal with bats in plague proportions.

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Megabats and Microbats: Charters Towers Regional Council war on bats may not be long-term fix
Charters Towers Regional Council war on bats may not be long-term fix
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