Taskforce tries to find bat colony

A FLYING fox taskforce will descend on a hendra-affected property near Rockhampton in coming days in an effort to trace back the deadly virus to a culprit bat colony.
Biosecurity Qld experts will visit the Hendra-affected property near Rocky in an attempt to trace back the virus to a culprit bat colony. Debrah Novak

The team of Biosecurity Qld experts will monitor flying fox activity in the area and test vegetation around the property to see if there are any clear links to the colony at Yeppoon's Fig Tree Creek or elsewhere.

The unsettling investigation will be similar to the one carried out during the 2009 hendra outbreak where the strain of the virus responsible for the death of Rockhampton vet Dr Alister Rodgers was linked to the Yeppoon colony.

Hendra is transmitted to horses as they feed on vegetation which has been urinated on or chewed by bats.

Last night a Biosecurity spokeswoman said there was "no doubt" all hendra cases were linked to flying foxes in some way, but it could be some time before investigators would be able to say what the contributing factors were in the most recent case.

Local wildlife carer Lynn Laskus argued the flying foxes were being "unfairly targeted".

She said there were still "a lot of questions" about whether the flying fox was in fact the main host of hendra, and called on the community not to take vengeance on the creatures she described as "puppies with wings".

"People are also quick to blame the flying fox because they are an easy target," Ms Laskus said.

"But we have seen the virus in cats and a dog and just because the (government) funding supports research into flying foxes only, it doesn't mean they are the only host."
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BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats: Taskforce tries to find bat colony
Taskforce tries to find bat colony
BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats
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