LETTER: No point trying to get rid of flying foxes
IT'S amusing that councillors are now surprised and disappointed that flying foxes have returned to Yamanto.
Cutting down trees was never going to move the flying foxes away from the area. The flying foxes leave every winter anyway, so any claims of responsibility for this are laughable.
Flying foxes stay near their food sources, the pollen of native trees currently flowering in the Ipswich area (also the source of any asthma flare-ups, not the bats.)
Flying foxes were in this area long before people. For over 100 years there was a huge camp at Pine Mountain, until the 1980s when repeated shooting parties drove them to Woodend, where they were managed for over 20 years, until illegal poisoning of the trees and a lack of maintenance led to tree loss and weed overgrowth, and flying foxes moved to Queens Park and Yamanto.
The flying foxes won't move on without somewhere better to go.
Those calling for extreme solutions such as culling and mass tree felling have no idea about bat ecology and are refusing to listen to those who do.
You could shoot every bat at Yamanto today and the camp would soon fill up again.
They're mobile - the 2000 there today are not the same 2000 individuals that were there a week ago. Cutting down every current roost tree would just make them move into nearby trees, and trees on private property cannot be cleared against the owner's wishes.
And some residents actually like the flying foxes.
Councillors making media appearances pretending they can control native wildlife in a bush reserve are just encouraging existing vigilante activity.
There have already been people shooting and throwing objects at the flying foxes, lighting fires under trees, and disturbing the neighbourhood with noise.
For those that care about animal cruelty, the camp is currently full of pregnant females, half of which are the Grey Headed Flying Foxes, listed as "vulnerable to extinction" .
Harassing them while trying to give birth is not only illegal, but inhumane by anyone's standards. The site is also home to a variety of other native wildlife, including water birds who are raising their young along the creek.
Council has already spent a great deal of ratepayers' money cleaning up private properties and clearing a buffer zone between flying foxes and houses, and providing alternative barrier planting.
This is the practical limit of what they can do at Yamanto without causing further problems, and residents calling for flying foxes to be removed completely need to accept that there are some things humans cannot control.
Beyond that, Woodend camp site needs to be re-vegetated to give flying foxes an alternative roost site and reduce pressure on Yamanto.
In the past the Woodend Nature Reserve was a shining, internationally recognised example of practical cooperation between council, residents, scientists and environmentalists, and it's a disgrace that all that work has gone to waste.