A colony of bats will be removed from the Emerald Botanic Gardens next week.
A colony of bats will be removed from the Emerald Botanic Gardens next week. Meghan Kidd

Council's plan to remove bats from beautiful CQ hotspot

FLYING foxes are moving on up and out of a popular Central Queensland recreational area.

For years, a roost of the protected species have taken up prime real estate in the Emerald Botanic Gardens' rainforest area.

However, Central Highlands mayor Kerry Hayes yesterday said their time was up as rangers prepare to relocate them next week.

Cr Hayes said the tropical paradise, which spans 42ha, is not a suitable place for flying foxes to call home.

Just last month, the Central Highlands Regional Council had said the colony would remain as the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection had deemed the habitat "suitable”.

Yesterday, Cr Hayes said the final decision about what to do with them was made this week.

"We generally agree that dispersal activities are the last resort because they are quite nasty for the animals and the neighbours,” he said.

"However, in this case, the colony is really close to a residential area and it's also stopping people from being able to enjoy the botanic gardens.

"Initially, we believed the Queensland Government was not going to authorise a dispersal, but it transpired that permission was forthcoming.”

Central Highlands Regional Council senior ranger Jaime-Lee Bullivant said the dispersal will start before dawn at about 4am with loud music and bright lights.

This will be repeated for up to three hours followed by an evening session for two hours from 5pm and could take four days to be effective.

"What we hope to do is make the roost an unpleasant place for the colony so they will find another home,” Ms Bullivant said.

Ms Bullivant said they could not control where the flying foxes ended up.

"The risk is they will land in a private garden where council will not be able to conduct further dispersal activities,” she said.

Ms Bullivant said the best outcome is if they were to head out of town and find a more suitable roost.

All nearby residents will receive a notice about the dispersal.

For any enquiries, you can contact 1300 242 686.

Photos submitted by Malcolm Wells of Flying Fox information day  at Appleton Park, was being held to educate the public on the Ross Creek bat colony, while also trying to address the negative stereotypes surrounding the mammals.
A flying fox spreading its wings.

FAST FLYING FOX FACTS:

Flying-foxes are crucial to keeping native forests healthy. They play an important role in dispersing seeds and pollinating flowering plants. Because flying-foxes are highly mobile, seeds can be moved locally and over great distances.

Lethal control of flying-foxes is intended to provide fruit growers with an additional form of crop protection only where non-harmful measures have been attempted.

Non-harmful control of flying-foxes:

  • netting
  • sound
  • light
  • smoke
  • movement
  • development of alternative roost sites

Source: The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection