State department reveals plan to combat CQ town's bat colony
THE Queensland Government has sprung into action after fears were raised by Westwood residents about a potential drinking water crisis caused by a flying fox colony.
The township located 50km south west of Rockhampton, which was dependent on collecting rain water in their tanks, was extremely concerned by the bat faeces from an estimated million bats landing on their roofs.
After investigations by The Morning Bulletin yesterday, Rockhampton Regional Council identified the land where the recently established colony resided was not their responsibility given that it was on a combination of State Government and private land.
The Department of Environment and Science spokesperson indicated in a statement that they were willing to work towards a solution for the beleaguered township.
"The Westwood site is a known roost which is used infrequently by flying foxes,” the spokesperson said.
"Rockhampton Regional Council is monitoring the situation and has advised DES of the presence of the bats.
"On 5 February, the Rockhampton Regional Council estimated the population at about 45,000.”
They said Rockhampton Regional Council had an as-of-right authority to manage flying fox roosts in Urban Flying fox Management Areas in accordance with the DES code of practice.
"Councils can also apply for a permit under Queensland's nature conservation laws for management measures not set out in the code.
"Rockhampton Regional Council has not notified DES of intent to use as-of-right powers here.
From this statement it could be deduced that RRC has the power to move on the colony provided apply for a permit and adhere to the appropriate environmental procedures.
The DES said the bats move around in search of their favourite food, the flowers and nectar of native trees, often travelling very long distances to follow these flowering events.
As a public health warning, the DES reminded members of the public not to handle flying-foxes as they can carry diseases.
"If you do come across a sick or injured flying-fox please call 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625),” they said.
"For more information about the possible health risks posed by bats and flying-foxes in Queensland, members of the public should contact Queensland Health on 13 HEALTH.”