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From batty to bat-free: Dispersal program is a winner


The bat colony off Tepequar Drive in Maroochydore before it was dispersed using lights, smoke and noise

SUNSHINE Coast councillor Jason O'Pray has encouraged Noosa Council to consider investing in a flying fox management plan following success with the non-lethal bat dispersal program in Tepequar Dr, Maroochydore.

After almost three years of planning, the Sunshine Coast Council used noise, smoke and lighting on April 29 to move bats away from the Aragorn Bushland Reserve and Stella Maris School bordering on Tepequar Dr.

At its peak, there were 27,000 flying foxes on the site.

Cr O'Pray said the program had been "hugely successful," with the entire colony moving to the western side of the Sunshine Motorway at Eudlo Creek Conservation Area.

"I encourage the Noosa Council to educate themselves on the program and the biggest tip I could give them is to manage the expectations of the community because if you are going down that track, there are absolutely no guarantees as flying foxes are, in the end, a wild animal," he said.
Sunshine Coast Council created a Flying Fox Management Plan, organised funding to fit with the environment levy and applied for permits from both the State and Federal governments to deal with the protected species.

A council spokesperson said non-lethal dispersal was considered a last resort management action by the council to "avoid escalating and compounding urban flying-fox conflict."

"A second dispersal is scheduled for the June/July school holidays should the flying foxes return to the original location," the spokesperson said.

"Since 2014, dispersals have been undertaken at Cassia Wildlife Corridor, Coolum in 2014 (costing $150,000), Elizabeth Street Drain, Coolum in 2015 ($90,000) and now at Aragorn Bushland Reserve/Stella Maris, Maroochydore ($40,000)."

Queensland Health advises that only a small percentage of flying-foxes carry diseases such as Australian Bat Lyssavirus, which is manageable and preventable.

This virus can only be transmitted by a scratch or bite, therefore do not touch a sick or injured flying-fox.

If you or some you know is scratched or bitten contact your doctor for immediate medical attention.

For further information about flying foxes and human health please contact Queensland Health or visit their website http://www.health.qld.gov.au/communicablediseases/hendra.asp.


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