Questions remain over removing Gayndah bats

Questions remain over removing Gayndah bats
Frances Adcock and Laura Hegarty

Updated August 12, 2011 10:03:19

The Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) has confirmed Gayndah's bat population in southern Queensland will be moved in about five weeks, but how the bats will be moved is still unknown.

The department announced yesterday the flying foxes will be moved, 10 months after council lodged its first application.

DERM will today tour the township, south-west of Bundaberg, and begin a research project into the impacts of their removal.

North Burnett Mayor Joy Jensen says the department has acknowledged the large number of bats is unusual.

However, she says it seems it is in no rush to move them.

"We're been wondering all the way through to be very cautious about what we wish for, to have 300,000 of these bats airborne at any given time trying to relocate them is fraught with danger," she said.

"We desperately need sound advice from DERM on how to relocate these without causing grief to the rest of the township or anywhere else."

Councillor Jensen says the advice from DERM is the young bats need to be old enough to fly before they are moved on.

"Representatives from DERM and Biosecurity Queensland will be in Gayndah to work through the detail of those conditions and hopefully have a discussion with the community," she said.

"We made the point with Deputy Premier Paul Lucas yesterday that a lack of information to the community has been detrimental and caused more angst than necessary."

The Member for Callide, Jeff Seeney, says five weeks is too long to expect the people of Gayndah to wait.

"DERM are making a complete mockery of the whole situation," he said.

"The problem is now so big because of DERM'S procrastination that the State Government should take responsibility.

"The issue is too big ... to reasonably expect council to tackle it on their own - there has to be some drastic action to address the problem in Gayndah.

"Premier Anna Bligh now has to get directly involved and come and explain to the people of Gayndah why they should have to put up with this problem for one more day, let alone four extra weeks before we can start doing anything."
'Waste of time'

But the Queensland Conservation Council (QCC) says trying to relocate the bat colony will be a waste of time and money.

QCC spokeswoman Carole Booth says moving them will cause chaos.

"The usual process is to use lots of noise and smoke and just try and scare them, but generally the bats will disperse a short distance," she said.

"They might fragment and go into backyards or other inconvenient locations so it could well be a waste of money and time and just stress the bats for no reason."
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BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats: Questions remain over removing Gayndah bats
Questions remain over removing Gayndah bats
BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats
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