POTS and pans can be used for more than just cooking, after the humble kitchen appliances were allegedly used in an illegal flying fox dispersal that sent thousands of bats into the skies over Coolum Beach at the weekend.
Images show what looks like a bat Armageddon of sorts over the sleepy, coastal town, after thousands of flying foxes were reportedly forced into the air in broad daylight.
BAT'S CRAZY: It's not armageddon, just thousands of flying foxes moving over Coolum.Sunshine Coast Council
Sunshine Coast Council has warned residents not to touch the animals which may be in their yards, injured or flying low after the dispersal from the Elizabeth St drain roost.
The council understands the bats were dispersed by banging pots and pans together, clanging metal sheets and an electric saw was also alleged to have been used in the dispersal operation which was reported to have started in Seaspray Ave.
Division Nine councillor Steve Robinson said the activities were “reckless” and had “only made the situation much worse”.
“Council recently presented flying-fox management options for residents living near the roost at the Elizabeth St drain,” Cr Robinson said.
“The outcome of the meeting was to move forward with vegetation removal as the previous two dispersals at this site were not successful. However over the weekend some local residents have now attempted a dispersal themselves.
“Not only was this reckless activity unsuccessful at getting rid of the bats, it has only made the situation much worse with bats now also roosting in backyards and closer to the local school.”
Cr Robinson said the actions had put the community at increased risk of disease and jeopardised the council’s ability to manage the roost.
“Council is concerned that due to the illegal dispersal, large numbers of bats have been flying low during the day and may be injured or come into contact with people,” he said.
“Our strong message is don’t touch bats which are being recklessly disturbed and may be flying low or being injured.
“Anyone scratched or bitten by a bat must seek immediate treatment.”
The illegal dispersal was being treated extremely seriously, with the State Department of Environment and Heritage Protection now investigating in attempts to identify those responsible.
“There are no winners,” Cr Robinson said.
“The bats are stressed and noisier, the community is at greater risk and actions have been stalled.”
Queensland Health warns of risks of serious diseases to the community such as Australasian Bat Lysavirus that can be transmitted from an infected bat to humans scratched or bitten by infected bats.
Cr Robinson said council officers would not be able to get on the ground and undertake management actions this week as they’d planned, given the mass displacement of bats.
Fines can be issued to any resident who undertakes illegal dispersal activities. Anyone who may have information that could assist the investigation should contact EHP on 1300130372.
There have been no reports of a bat symbol being involved in the incident to-date.