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Boonah bats set to fly as trees get the chop

MOVE THE BATS: Scenic Rim Mayor John Brent (right) and Cr Rick Stanfield in front of a large bat colony in Bicentennial Park in Boonah. The colony will be removed from this week.
MOVE THE BATS: Scenic Rim Mayor John Brent (right) and Cr Rick Stanfield in front of a large bat colony in Bicentennial Park in Boonah. The colony will be removed from this week. Claudia Baxter

THE removal of bats from a Boonah park will begin this week.

The Scenic Rim Regional Council will begin the "decommissioning" of the flying fox roost in Bicentennial Park this week.

The works, which have been approved by the federal and state environmental authorities, will involve the removal of the trees the flying fox colony occupies.

Scenic Rim mayor John Brent said every step would be taken to avoid harming the bats.

"The majority of this work will be undertaken at night when the roost is largely unoccupied by the nocturnal flying foxes," he said.

"The process will also involve a flying fox advocate and carers whose role it will be to monitor the works and assist with any animals which may not have departed the roost after dark."

Bat Conservation and Rescue president Katrina Faulkes-Leng said while she didn't agree with the plan, she was glad it involved people who would look out for the bats.

"I think it's an absolute necessity to include people like ourselves so it can be humanely and if something isn't done according to the rule, we can turn around and say so," she said.

She said there had been a concentration on removing bats instead of working out how to manage them.

"We have to look at how we can manage flying fox colonies, instead of dispersing flying fox colonies," she said.

Cr Brent said the removal of affected vegetation in Bicentennial Park would ultimately disperse the colony and provide relief to the residents of Athol Tce.

"Each morning the roosting area for the returning colony will be progressively smaller until it is completely removed.

"I'm sure this outcome cannot come soon enough for those most affected," he said.

Cr Brent said the Scenic Rim council was also undertaking works at other sites within Boonah where it had identified a potential for the dispersed colony to relocate in large numbers.

"These works will make those areas less attractive as potential roosting sites," he said.

Ms Faulkes-Leng said while she appreciated residents near the Boonah colony were distressed, she said removing the trees wasn't an appropriate solution.

"By cutting down the trees, you're removing more than just the home of the flying foxes," she said.

"They are a key part of biodiversity and are something that people enjoy as well."

Topics:  bicentennial park flying foxes scenic rim regional council



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