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Bats get boot from Boonah: Colony moved on from park

MOVE OUT: Scenic Rim Regional Council Mayor John Brent (right) and Councillor Rick Stanfield stand before a large bat colony in Bicentennial Park in Boonah.
MOVE OUT: Scenic Rim Regional Council Mayor John Brent (right) and Councillor Rick Stanfield stand before a large bat colony in Bicentennial Park in Boonah. Claudia Baxter

BOONAH'S bat colony foxes will be moved on from the town's iconic Bicentennial Park, but bat conservationists believe the problem is far from over.

Scenic Rim Regional Council Mayor John Brent announced the plan to remove the vegetation which the bats call home.

The colony grew to almost 150,000 earlier this year, along with community health concerns and fears property values would tumble.

The plan has been approved by environmental authorities and the council is expected to begin within weeks.

However, Bat Conservation and Rescue Queensland vice president Connie Kerr said while the method of removal was the preferred option, the plan could make human contact with bats inevitable.

She said the animal, known for carrying the deadly Lyssavirus, could end up in Boonah backyards as they attempt to find a new home.

"They need to go and land somewhere to sleep for the day and they are quite possibly going to find the nearest suitable trees to sleep and rest.

"The biggest concern for the flying foxes is when they do this kind of thing is that they don't go where they are hoping for them to go," she said.

Cr Brent said preliminary site works in Bicentennial Park would commence soon and buffer zones around would be increased to prevent the colony spreading as the vegetation was removed.

"These relevant approvals have now been received by council and I thank these agencies for their prompt response in endorsing council's action plan," he said.

"This outcome is certainly a victory for commonsense and will allow us to deliver a solution consistent with the local community's expectations.

"The long-held community view is that such a large flying fox colony in proximity to a built-up residential area is incompatible."

Ms Kerr urges anyone who finds an injured or isolated bat to leave the animal alone and call the bat rescue hotline on 0488 228 134.

Topics:  bat conservation and rescue queensland, bicentennial park, boonah, flying foxes



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