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BATS: Flying-fox problem at crisis point in Eurobodalla, council vowing to take fight higher, Megabat, Fruit bat

The Member for Bega Andrew Constance has hit out at a council in south-east New South Wales trying to take its issues with flying foxes to State and Federal governments.

The Eurobodalla Mayor, Lindsay Brown, said the community was losing the battle in controlling flying fox populations and planned to lead a delegation of frustrated council leaders in other Local Government areas to meet with the State Environment Minister Mark Speakman.

But Mr Constance said that was not necessary.

"We do not need a delegation from council using ratepayers money flying to Sydney, when the Minister is already aware of this problem," he said.
He recommended the Eurobodalla Council apply to have the bats dispersed in the same way as the Sutherland Shire.

"My personal view is that the bats should be dispersed because of the location and the impact that this issue is having on locals," Mr Constance said.

"I respectfully request that council get on with an application and not bring delegations to Sydney on the basis of appearing to achieve something."

Dispersal is not effective: Eurobodalla Council

Cr Brown has disputed the method's effectiveness and labelled Mr Constance's comments as "ill-informed."

PHOTO: Flying foxes at Catalina around 6pm(Supplied: Sammy King via Bay Post/Moruya Examiner)

"Our research tells us this approach simply doesn't work in the majority of cases ... It's highly unpredictable," he said.

"The animals usually relocate in multiple splinter camps close to the existing camp and create similar complaints in new areas."

He added the council did not seek approval for dispersal because the community "overwhelmingly rejected" the approach.

The council said it cleared a vegetation buffer against residential back fences in the affected area near the Batemans Bay Water Gardens Reserve, a known food source for the animal.

The council also provided car and clothes line covers to residents as well as access to cleaning equipment.
But the problems persisted.

Batemans Bay Resident Terry McDonough wrote on the ABC South East Facebook page:

"The stink through the night is nauseating. Interrupting sleep, not only mine but other workers I know, including shift workers. Then there's the noise. It's gone way past tolerable."

The animals had also spread to Catalina, Moruya South Head, Batehaven, Tomakin and Malua Bay.
The council said it was advised by the Office of Environment and Heritage there was around 100, 000 flying foxes in Batemans Bay, about 20 per cent of the national population.

"This is a bigger problem than Eurobodalla Shire Council can manage on its own and once again I simply ask that all levels of Government cooperate to help our communities," Cr Brown said.

Plea for flying foxes to be addressed on national agenda

Cr Brown said he would take the issue to the Federal Member for Hunter, Joel Fitzgibbon, who recently called on the Senate to begin an inquiry into flying fox control around Singleton, Cessnock and other communities across the country.

He said he knew of at least 40 councils across New South Wales struggling with the problem.

Grey-headed flying foxes are a threaded species under State and Federal legislation.

The Eurobodalla Council said overall numbers were declining, while in places like Batemans Bay the population was increasing.


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BatsRule!: BATS: Flying-fox problem at crisis point in Eurobodalla, council vowing to take fight higher, Megabat, Fruit bat
BATS: Flying-fox problem at crisis point in Eurobodalla, council vowing to take fight higher, Megabat, Fruit bat
Flying-fox problem at crisis point in Eurobodalla, council vowing to take fight higher, Megabat, Fruit bat
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