Residents say they?re going batty
By MARY MANN
THOUSANDS of screeching flying foxes are driving Ballina locals batty.
Residents like Lucy Benn say it is impossible to get a decent night's sleep and they don't dare hang their washing outside on the line for fear of the noisy creatures' droppings.
They have complained to the Ballina Shire Council, which says it can't do anything directly because the flying foxes are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife (NPWS) Act.
NPWS spokesperson Lawrence Orel said the service was unaware of any significant increase in the number of bats in the area concerned, but would be happy to work with the council to look at any issues and potential solutions.
Ms Benn, who has lived at her Tipperary Place home for the past 13 years, said it was only in the past two years the flying foxes had become a real problem and that numbers were increasing.
Her house backs on to a section of Crown land which is home to a colony of the bats, across from Big W.
"I shut my house up but you can still hear and smell them," Ms Benn said.
Neighbour Kevin Thomas said it was time for something to be done.
"Our main problem is that they mess all over our granny flat, where my wife's mother lives," Mr Thomas said.
The NPWS says the flying fox population in eastern Australia is declining due to clearing of native vegetation.
As a result, they are increasingly roosting and foraging in close proximity to urban areas where food is available, which in turn often causes concern to residents.
It is an offence to harm the flying foxes without a licence.