POLARISING: A mother and baby grey-headed flying fox rest in a tree.
POLARISING: A mother and baby grey-headed flying fox rest in a tree. AAP

New policy "game over" for "bat menace" says Clarence MP

NSW Environment Minister Rob Stokes's new Flying Fox Management strategy, launched last week, was met with jubilant fighting words from Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis.

The policy, on exhibition until December 1, is "game over" for the "bat menace", according to Mr Gulaptis.

The new state policy would give some orchardists special licence to shoot bats, but only in rural areas.

Importantly for Lismore urban residents, the policy allows land managers (usually council) to carry out camp disturbance or dispersal by clearing vegetation, or dispersal of animals by noise, water, smoke or light.

Mr Gulaptis told Parliament earlier this year that a cheap, harmless and effective way the Maclean community had found to persuade the bats to move was for the council ranger to "fire up a lawn mower without a muffler and light a few fires to remind the flying foxes that they were not welcome".

However, it's unlikely that Lismore City Council will encourage residents to fire up the Victa in a bid todisrupt the controversial 70,000-strong flying fox colony at Rotary Park.

Lismore City Council parks co-ordinator Martin Soutar said: "There are lots of challenges in terms of having a flying fox colony in a residential area.

"We're dealing with an endangered species that has an important role in pollination and people's lives, so it's a very tricky issue.

"Council currently manages the existing flying fox colony at Rotary Park through the regeneration of the bushland they are roosting in.

"They do have an effect on the park habitat and we need to manage that.

"Rotary Park has a boardwalk that is also maintained and a number of interpretive signs that provide information about the flying fox.

"This helps educate people about the animals and why it's important that the flying fox colony is in place.

"Lismore City Council tried to encourage the bats to change roosts from Rotary Park to Currie Park in 2007 with the installation of ropes to increase the roosting area.

"However, at this stage the roost of choice remains Rotary Park."



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