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Camira residents driven batty by 100,000 flying foxes

David Nielsen

TWO years ago Kathy Handford was left burying 65 dead flying foxes scattered over her backyard after a heatwave decimated the Camira colony.

This year the colony roosting along Sandy Creek has swelled to about 100,000.

Mrs Handford's acreage property is now overrun with the colony moving well into her rainforest garden in the backyard.

Along with many of her neighbours she wants the flying fox population culled.

At the very least, she wants more support from Ipswich City Council with what is a serious health issue.

"I rang the council (in 2014) to tell them about the dead bats; they said use your wheelie bin. How do you put 65 dead bats in the wheelie bin? My husband had to dig holes in the backyard to get rid of them.

"It's OK for people to say they are protected, but try living near them.

"I understand they are important, they are part of nature, but in suburbia, they need to be managed."

Nearby resident Glenys Marsh, who has lived at Cochrane St for 40 years, said the colony had to be culled.

"The numbers are getting out of control," Mrs Marsh said.

"They have to put nets in and euthanise them. There is no other way.

GET RID OF THEM: Camira residents would like to see a large colony of Flying Foxes culled or moved on.
GET RID OF THEM: Camira residents would like to see a large colony of Flying Foxes culled or moved on.

"If they try to move them on, some other poor unsuspecting suburb is going to end up with them and have the same problem we have.

"They need to be kept under control.

"Why are they protected? They are disease-ridden rodents. You can't touch them. They stink, they are putrid and there are millions of them, they are not endangered.

"If we had the only colony in Queensland then they are endangered, but they are not."

Three of the seven species of flying foxes are listed as vulnerable or critically endangered and protected under national environmental law.

Local councillor David Morrison said he sympathised with the residents but, from his previous role with council's environment portfolio, he knows council has little power to take action, even though the State Government says it is a council responsibility.

"I have attended countless meetings and there is no known answer to this problem," Cr Morrison said.

"The only successful way to relocate them is to destroy their roosting area - to cut down the trees - which is illegal."

Cr Morrison said the council conducted a quarterly monitoring observation last week and found that the flying foxes had extended their roost area from previous observations along Sandy Creek, adjacent to Barbara St.

"This is primarily due to the large influx of Little Red flying-foxes which migrate annually during the summer months," he said.

"The Little Red's tend to be in the roost from November to late March.

"Following this, the roost should return to much lower numbers."

Topics:  camira heatwave ipswich residents



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