- Monday 23 May 2016
Coolum residents have been warned not to touch flying-foxes that may be in their backyard following illegal dispersal attempts near the roost at the Elizabeth Street drain.
The illegal and irresponsible attempts were undertaken at the weekend and, according to Division Nine Councillor Steve Robinson, have only made the flying-fox situation worse and put the local community at risk.
“Council recently presented flying-fox management options for residents living near the roost at the Elizabeth Street drain,” Cr Robinson said.
“The outcome of the meeting was to move forward with vegetation removal as the previous two dispersals at this site were not successful. However over the weekend some local residents have now attempted a dispersal themselves.
“Not only was this reckless activity unsuccessful at getting rid of the bats, it has only made the situation much worse with bats now also roosting in backyards and closer to the local school.
“This not only jeopardises council’s ability to take action to manage the roost at this site, but also increases the risks of disease to the wider community.
“Council is concerned that due to the illegal dispersal, large numbers of bats have been flying low during the day and may be injured or come into contact with people.
“Our strong message is don’t touch bats which are being recklessly disturbed and may be flying low or being injured.
“Anyone scratched or bitten by a bat must seek immediate treatment.
“Queensland Health warns the community that serious diseases such as Australasian Bat Lysavirus can be transmitted from an infected bat to a human if you are scratched or bitten by an infected bat.”
Cr Robinson said the illegal dispersal was being taken very seriously by the State Government, with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection currently taking action to identify the perpetrators.
Fines can be issued to any resident who undertakes illegal dispersal activities. Anyone who may have information that could assist the investigation should contact EHP on 1300 130 372.
“Council officers were hoping to get on the ground this week with management actions. However that has now changed as the situation needs to be re-assessed to locate the flying foxes,” Cr Robinson said.
“There are no winners. The bats are stressed and noisier, the community is at greater risk and actions have been stalled.”