Bat move-on plan up in the air

Charters Towers bat dispersal still a priority

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Charters Towers Mayor Frank Beveridge at Young's Block.

Charters Towers Mayor Frank Beveridge at Young's Block.

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A colony of flying-foxes roosting at Lissner Park in Charters Towers will be inspected later this month with a view to moving them on.

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A COLONY of flying-foxes roosting at Lissner Park in Charters Towers will be inspected later this month with a view to moving them on.

An alternative roost has been constructed at Young's Block where it is hoped they will settle, to remove them from the centre of town.

Flying-foxes have plagued the CBD for years and can number up to 200,000 in peak times.

They have previously forced the closure of the park, the local swimming pool and have created head aches for residents.

The Department of Environment and Science were planning dispersal activities in July, but were forced to delay after finding little red flying foxes had arrived unexpectedly in large numbers, some with pups.

A DES spokeswoman said the young animals were too large and heavy for their mothers to carry while foraging for food at night, but too undeveloped to be able to fly themselves.

"If the dispersal had happened in August there was a high risk the mothers would have abandoned the pups," the spokeswoman said.

She said wildlife officers would inspect the colony later this month to determine whether the dispersal could proceed.

"They will assess the development status of flightless, juvenile little red flying-fox pups and younger little red pups still being carried by their mothers that DES wildlife officers observed at the Lissner Park roost in August," she said.

"They will also assess the numbers of any newly born black flying-fox pups at the roost site.

"The next inspection will be undertaken at the end of September to determine whether the pups have developed sufficiently to be able to fly for themselves and whether the dispersal can occur safely without harm to any flying foxes."


Charters Towers Mayor Frank Beveridge said the community was getting fed up with the pests, which were returning to the park in huge numbers.


He said it was a key priority for council to get some clarity ahead of the October 31 state election. Cr Beveridge said the park was overrun with flying-fox and there was not a single flying-fox at the alternative roost site.


"The Department of Environment and Science, based on science provided by CSIRO, recommended the creation of this site with plans to relocated flying-fox here in April this year," Cr Beveridge said.


"Charters Towers Regional Council has cooperated every step of the way, but the state government fell behind on the plan, and Charters Towers residents have been left waiting and sceptical if the issue will ever be resolved."


The DES spokeswoman said they had no contact from the Mayor of Charters Towers Regional Council in relation to flying-fox management in Charters Towers since receiving a letter from him, dated 28 May 2020, advising that the Charters Towers Flying Fox Advisory Committee had been disbanded by the Council.


"However, DES wildlife officers continue to have regular discussions with Charters Towers Regional Council officers about the project implementation," she said.


"DES remains committed to conducting the relocation of flying foxes in Charters Towers in the 2020/21 financial year when environmental conditions allow."

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