The amount of bats roosting on trees has caused limbs to break off.
The amount of bats roosting on trees has caused limbs to break off. Warren Wright

CQ man fears for health as thousands of bats inundate town

IMAGINE living in distress every day, fearing contamination and health risks and listening to a constant "screeching and flapping."

That's what Duaringa resident Warren Wright says it is like for him each minute of the day.

Bats have inundated his hometown 100km west of Rockhampton since December last year.

"The number of bats have just become phenomenal, the sky from either side is just full of them," he said.

"They have settled in Mackenzie Park where our endemic tree, the Duaringa Budgeroo, grows and the sheer weight of the bats in causing large limbs to simply tear away.

 

Warren is concerned about the health risks associated with the number of bat colonies in Duaringa.
Warren is concerned about the health risks associated with the number of bat colonies in Duaringa. Contributed

"The fact remains that such huge colonies of bats are gigantic reservoirs of Lyssa virus and Hendra virus. Salmonella is also present in their faeces which rains from the sky onto the roof tops of Duaringa residences from where many citizens collect their drinking water.

"One of the bats even defecated on my elderly frail mother when she was hanging the washing."

When The Morning Bulletin spoke with Central Highlands Regional Council about the issue they said they are taking it "very seriously."

"We have developed a Flying Fox Management Plan and developed a suite of factsheets on a number of topical matters," a spokesperson said.

"We acknowledge all customer enquiries and our team of Rangers regularly undertake counts to track the number of flying foxes in known areas across the region i.e. Duaringa and the Emerald Botanical Gardens.

"Council undertakes management of flying-fox roosts on CHRC owned or managed land.

 

"Council assesses roosts of concern and use a scale approach to management of these roost areas."

Council advised the last count of flying foxes at Duaringa was conducted on February 27 and showed an increase in numbers from 3,500 to 4,000 to be closer to 5,000.

"The Ranger Services team continue to address customer concerns in relation to flying foxes in Duaringa and will progress to dispersal activities once the weather permits us to do so, as we have to comply with the DEHP in relation to permitted dispersal activities," they said.

"The community can undertake low impact activities meaning mulching, mowing or weeding under or near roost trees, and/or minor trimming of roost trees, where the activities are not directed at destroying a flying fox roost, driving away, or attempting to drive away, a flying fox from a flying fox roost or disturbing a flying fox in a flying fox roost."

Despite his numerous attempts at contact with council, Warren feels "no one cares."

"We are just flabbergasted and frustrated and offended that no one wants to do anything about it, especially considering there is such high health risks," he said.

"We want council to come down to the community and get our feedback and understand the dynamics what is happening. They should be lobbying the State Government."


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