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Bats plaguing North Queensland


Townsville Bulletin CHRISTIE ANDERSON March 11, 2016

EXPERTS and community leaders are stumped on how to move problematic bats roosting in parks, backyards, bus stops and other urban areas.
North Queensland councils have tried paintball guns, helicopters, air rifles, smoke, lights and python faeces but it has done little to deter roosts of thousands of bats with the flying foxes repeatedly returning to the areas from which they have been evicted.
James Cook University head of terrestrial ecosystems Professor Simon Robson said relocating bats was close to impossible as they either returned or caused further nuisance in backyards.
EXPERTS and community leaders are stumped on how to move problematic bats roosting in parks, back yards, bus stops and other urban areas.

North Queensland councils have tried paintball guns, helicopters, air rifles, smoke, lights and python faeces but it has done little to deter roosts of thousands of bats with the flying foxes repeatedly returning to the areas from which they have been evicted.

James Cook University head of terrestrial ecosystems Professor Simon Robson said relocating bats was close to impossible as they either returned or caused further nuisance in backyards.

“To move bats on you need to make it very annoying for them but even then they usually come back,” he said.

“We don’t fully understand why they are in particular areas, which makes them very difficult to relocate.

Thousands of bats at the Palmetum at Annandale are causing headaches for residents at the nearby Good Shepherd Home with people too scared to go outside.

There are also large bat colonies living in Rowes Bay and the Bohle while back yards with fruit trees have also become home to flying foxes.

In Ingham a CBD bus stop used by school students had to be closed after a colony of bats sparked health concerns.

Large colonies of up to 80,000 bats have become a blight on Charters Towers with the flying foxes known to blacken out the sky when populations are at their peak.

Charters Towers Mayor Frank Beveridge was so desperate to rid Lissner Park of bats he called in low-flying helicopters but many of the flying foxes have returned.

“The problem is when you get them in the air they have to go somewhere,” he said.

“You move them out of the centre of town and then they move into people’s back yards and the complaints multiply by 100.”

Townsville Deputy Mayor Vern Veitch said bat numbers in urban roosts was down but they were still a problem.

“It’s an ongoing issue particularly in places like Annandale,” he said.

“The challenge is not scaring them to move, we have a range of methods to get them to move.

“The problem is we have no control on where they move to.”

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Megabats and Microbats: Bats plaguing North Queensland
Bats plaguing North Queensland
Bats plaguing North Queensland
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Megabats and Microbats
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