MAREEBA Shire Council plans to disperse a colony of flying foxes this week after last month’s attempt was scuttled due to the presence of young.
The council had planned to use noise, including non-lethal Bird Frite guns, to direct the animals elsewhere on January 17, but were advised at the last minute not to proceed with the project due to the baby bats.
Mareeba Mayor Tom Gilmore said parents of children at a kindergarten neighbouring the colony had raised health concerns and the decision was made to try to move the bats on.
Mareeba Shire Council Mayor Tom Gilmore.
He said the council would follow environmental guidelines to ensure no harm came to the bats.
“We’re not here to hurt them, we’re here to move them on,” he said.
“I would feel uncomfortable to be killing these animals.
“I understand there was another inspection over the weekend and we will be moving to shoo them on as soon as we can properly do so without leaving dependent juveniles there to die.”
But Environmental Defenders Office Northern Queensland principal solicitor Tania Heber said the council could find its flying fox troubles didn’t end once the colony was moved on.
She said it was possible the bats would just move to a more densely populated part of town.
“They’re trying to aim them towards Granite Creek, where they think is a better location and further from humans, but there’s no way to control where the flying foxes go,” Ms Heber said. “At the moment it seems like a bit of a hit-and-miss approach. I wouldn’t recommend dispersal in any circumstances ... the flying foxes are high in the canopy and the kindy is across the road. There is no opportunity for them to come into contact. “I see it as more of an educational experience for the children.”
Last year, Cairns Regional Council was fined $15,000 for not properly complying with environmental and heritage laws relating to flying fox populations when it trimmed trees on Aplin, Abbott and Lake streets two years ago.