Amanda Balmer

Maclean’s bats out of hell

THEY party all night, leave a huge mess and destroy where they live - anyone who lives near Maclean's flying fox population knows they are the neighbours from hell.

According to residents, they just got worse.

The infestation of flying foxes in the urban areas of Maclean has been a problem faced by residents for years, but in the past week a huge increase in the flying mammals has been noticed by a number of people in the town, including Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis.

"I drive past the area every day, and have noticed that the infestation has grown significantly," he said.

"I can understand why the residents are totally frustrated; it is a very insidious position they are placed in, having to live next to thousands of wild animals in a residential area.

"It's really like having neighbours from hell there."

Mr Gulaptis recently tabled the issue in State Parliament, thanks to a 10,000 signature petition, but said he hadn't been given a date yet to discuss the issue.

When he does, he said he would use his 15 minutes to propose that NSW adopt a similar management strategy to Queensland, which gives local councils the authority to disperse the bats before a colony can grow.

"It would really short-circuit the whole process and enable us to relieve the problem before it is ingrained," Mr Gulaptis said.

Mr Gulaptis has also been in discussion with the Richmond Valley Council, which recently received approval to cut down some trees where bats have caused a problem in residential areas of Casino.

"Clearly there are trees in the (Maclean) gully that are dead and those trees ... need to be removed," he said.

"We need to have more appropriate vegetation planted in that area.

"Anything I can do before it is debated and before a longer term strategy is provided, I will," he promised.

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