McLeans Ridges bat carer Robyn Gough says that trying to move flying foxes out of their habitat would only place the problem somewhere else.
McLeans Ridges bat carer Robyn Gough says that trying to move flying foxes out of their habitat would only place the problem somewhere else. Jacklyn Wagner

Moving bats an ill-conceived idea

MCLEANS Ridges bat carer and former co-ordinator of Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers, Robyn Gough, says attempts to move or cull bats to prevent the spread of Hendra would be ill conceived and would not achieve the desired result anyway.

On Wednesday, independent MP Bob Katter called for bats nesting in urban areas to be shot or moved on to prevent further outbreaks of Hendra virus. The idea has been rejected out-of-hand by Biosecurity Queensland, vets and bat experts.

“You’ve only got to look at Maclean, which has been an absolute money hole where they tried to move them many years ago,” Ms Gough said.

“They just keep coming back or they move into more undesirable places. You can’t move them where you want them to go.

“Flying foxes are the most important animals for seed dispersal of our rainforest species and the most important pollinators of our eucalypts.

“You don’t see the birds and the bees around the eucalypt trees in the daytime because they are pollinated by the flying foxes at night.

“Even though we are orchardists we are fond of them, they are highly intelligent creatures.”

Australian Veterinary Association president Barry Smyth agreed, saying that culling flying foxes would only make things worse.

“Calls to eradicate flying foxes are ignoring the facts,” he said.

“They would be very difficult to eradicate (and) would become stressed, and that would increase their chances of spreading Hendra virus.”



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