Nature Centre's 'record-breaking' bat infestation
IPSWICH Nature Centre is set to remain closed to the public for the foreseeable future amid a record-breaking flying fox infestation.
Councillor Russell Milligan on Tuesday revealed the latest figures showed about 22,500 of the animals were currently roosting at Queens Park.
The largest number previously recorded was in 2014 at a total of about 15,000.
The revelation comes just weeks after Ipswich City Council closed the area in response "safety concerns" over the growing population.
West Moreton Health also confirmed two bats infected with Australian Bat Lyssavirus were found around Ipswich Central State School last week.
The virus can prove lethal to humans, if infected.
Despite the recent events, Cr Milligan would not say if he was concerned about the park's increasingly large colony.
"When it comes to the lyssavirus, Queensland Health and West Moreton Health are the lead agencies on the matter," he said.
"The measures that the council has taken to close off the area and provide signage is in the best interests of public safety."
He said bats would not be disturbed and were protected under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992.
There are three species currently at the park: Black flying fox Pteropus Alecto, Grey-headed flying fox Pterpopus poliocephalus and Little red flying fox Pteropus scapulatus.
The colony is dominated by the Little Red species.
Cr Milligan said there was no plan to reopen the centre as yet, but authorities were monitoring the situation daily.
"Council decided to close the Nature Centre on February 19 due to safety concerns for the community," he said.
"At the moment, council officers are assessing daily as to the situation and soon as it is safe to do so the nature centre will reopen."
He said the large contingent was likely due to multiple habitats being destroyed across southeast Queensland amid 2019's bushfire season.
Decent rainfall totals and subsequent lush food supply was also noted as a contributor.
"The environment (at Queens Park), it is the natural environment of the flying foxes," Cr Milligan said.
If you find a sick or injured bat call the RSPCA on 1300 264 625 or a local bat care organisation.
If you have had a bite or a scratch from a bat, call 13HEALTH or your local Public Health Unit for urgent advice on 3818 4700.