Flying foxes drive council guano crazy

Charters Towers flying foxes to be dispersed

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Flying foxes at Lissner Park.

Flying foxes at Lissner Park.

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Flying foxes are expected to be dispersed from the Charters Towers CBD later this month with council talking matters into their own hands.

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FLYING foxes are expected to be dispersed from the Charters Towers CBD later this month with council talking matters into their own hands.

Charters Towers Regional Council will enlist Biodiversity Australia to move the colony from Lissner Park after the Department of Environment and Science delayed their planned dispersal activities earlier this year.

An alternative roost site has been developed at Young's Block, but DES has been unable to redirect the flying foxes as planned as they were carrying young.

Acting Mayor Sonia Bennetto said council was left with no choice but to act themselves.

"The Charters Towers community has been dealing with an intolerable flying-fox problem since circa 2001," Cr Bennetto said.

"In recent years council engaged in a collaborative approach to the issue, working cooperatively with the Queensland government and the Department of Environment and Science every step of the way to try and get this issue resolved.

"To date no efforts have been made by the department to actually relocate the flying-foxes.

"We keep being told it's not the right time of year or the flying-foxes can't be moved because they're carrying pups.

"We will now work closely with Biodiversity Australia to move on the flying foxes in a very humane and efficient way."

A DES spokesman said wildlife officers inspected the park on September 30, and observed about 10,500 flying foxes including some juvenile black flying-foxes being held by their mothers.

The spokesman said the dispersal needed to occur over several months and it could commence in October, but would have to cease in mid-November as the young developed and grew.

"This would mean the dispersal would have to cease after only a few weeks, affecting the long-term success of the dispersal and relocation," the spokesman said.

"Therefore, DES decided it was best to defer the dispersal and relocation work until early 2021, when there would be a period of several months when the work could occur with minimal impact on the flying-foxes, and there would be a better likelihood of a successful relocation."

The spokesman said council was within their rights to enlist their own contractor, provided they also comply with the 'Code of Practice - Ecologically sustainable management of flying-fox roosts.'

"Council may undertake flying-fox roost dispersal activities at Lissner Park at any time, provided it notifies DES in advance and complies with the Code of Practice.

"However, council and its contractors would have to cease dispersal activities if they found they could no longer comply with the code.

"If council goes ahead with its current proposal, DES would still commence follow-up flying-fox dispersal and relocation activities at Charters Towers in early 2021 when the long-term likelihood of success is greater."

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