FLYING foxes have invaded the most famous tourist attraction in Cairns’ city centre.
A small colony of bats appears to have settled in the large fig tree between the Lagoon on the Esplanade, and McDonalds.
The protected animals are just metres away from the popular swimming attraction, potentially putting visitors at risk of exposure to guano.
It comes as Cairns Regional Council officers have been instructed by the council’s chief executive Peter Tabulo to not trim another large tree harbouring flying foxes on Shields St outside The Woolshed, until after the council election this Saturday.
Mr Tabulo said the council was aware a small number of flying foxes were present on the Esplanade this week.
“Flying foxes have been known to inhabit Esplanade trees in varying numbers for short lengths of time in the past,’’ he said.
“Council’s Flying Fox Advisory Committee will provide a recommendation as to whether any management actions are required, in line with the flying fox management policy.”
Responding to claims the bats would colonise the Esplanade if they were not dispersed from the CBD, Cairns Mayor Bob Manning told reporters yesterday if this occurred, “they may have to be dispersed again”.
“That’s another issue for afterwards, but at the moment, there’s nothing that can be done,’’ he said.
He said there were provisions in State legislation that prohibited the council from dispersing flying fox colonies until the animals had completed their breeding season in April.