Baby bats blamed for Charters Towers dispersal delay

Charters Towers bat dispersal plan delayed

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Charters Towers Mayor Frank Beveridge at Young's Block, which has been rejuvenated to encourage flying foxes to relocate from the centre of town.

Charters Towers Mayor Frank Beveridge at Young's Block, which has been rejuvenated to encourage flying foxes to relocate from the centre of town.

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Plans to move a large colony of flying foxes from the centre of Charters Towers have been delayed after the bats were found to be carrying young.

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FRUSTRATION is building in Charters Towers after the state government delayed planned flying fox dispersal measures which were set to start next week.

The dispersal of bats from Lissner Park in the centre of the CBD has been delayed indefinitely after little red flying foxes were found to be carrying young.

Charters Towers Mayor Frank Beveridge slammed the state government for bungling the plan, saying significant work had been done to coordinate the movement at a time when the flying foxes would not be carrying young.

He said the state government's Department of Environment and Science had coordinated the plan based on the best available science from CSIRO and their own department.

"What I can't understand is, how do you put this much resource, with this much expertise, into such a significant undertaking, only to realise you can't deliver because you got it wrong? The mind boggles," Cr Beveridge said.

"They have just spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the creation of a specifically designed alternative roost site at Young's Block, to ensure the continued sustainability of the flying-fox, and now they are not moving them there."

The dispersal was set to start on Tuesday, July 14 from 4am to 7am daily for up to four weeks until the bats had relocated.

Noise, smoke and light disturbances were going to be used to discouraging the bats, which number up to 200,000 in peak times, from settling in their Lissner Park roost.

A DES spokeswoman confirmed the dispersal had been delayed due to the large numbers of juvenile little red flying foxes that would be at risk if it went ahead.

"These pups were not expected to be there and were found during a site inspection carried out Wednesday by the dispersal contractor," she said.

"These young animals are too large and heavy for their mothers to carry while flying about at night for food, but are too undeveloped to be able to fly themselves.

"This means they would almost certainly be abandoned by their mothers if the dispersal went ahead at this time."

The spokeswoman said the flying fox population would be reassessed in August to determine when the young would be mature enough to fly during a dispersal.

Cr Beveridge said council had been advocating for the bat's removal following decades of frustration from residents, whose quality of life was impacted by the colony.

"Charters Towers residents are fed up," he said.

"They can't utilise the town's main park, Lissner Park, and the pool and kindergarten have previously had to close due to the flying-fox overwhelming their areas."

Cr Beveridge called on the state government to take responsibility and stick with a dispersal plan.

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