Plan is ludicrous: conservationist

A NORTH Coast conservationist says she is appalled by plans to give farmers the power to shoot flying foxes.

Fears about the deadly Hendra virus have prompted the Queensland government to consider giving farmers "damage mitigation permits."

But Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says "precious fauna" would still be protected.

"The guarantee is any action against flying foxes will be done in a careful, considered, sensible way," Mr Newman said.

Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers Inc. bat coordinator Cheryl Cochran says the plan is ludicrous.

"To be honest I don't know why they're even using Hendra because it's well known humans can't catch Hendra from bats they can only get it from horses," Ms Cochran says.

"I can't imagine that it will even happen because it's ridiculous."

All native species, including flying-foxes, are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974

But the Hendra outbreak did cause concern amongst some North Coast residents living alongside flying fox colonies.

In June last year 29 Suffolk park residents signed a petition calling on Byron Shire Council to take action to move a colony of around 300 bats which they said was noisy, smelly and a risk to human health.

Residents have also complained in the past about the impact of bats on Lumley Park in Alstonville and Rotary Park in Lismore.

But Ms Cochrane said most North Coast residents appreciate that bats are at risk due to habitat loss and don't mind living alongside them.

"With Rotary Park and Lumley Park residents have seen the numbers fluctuate greatly and it isn't as a big a problem as we thought it would be and we don't hear any complaints at all."

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