BATS ARE BACK: 320,000 flying foxes have converged on Duaringa for the third time in two years. Photo Meghan Kidd / CQ News
BATS ARE BACK: 320,000 flying foxes have converged on Duaringa for the third time in two years. Photo Meghan Kidd / CQ News Meghan Kidd

Duaringa residents go batty from invasion

THE bats are back.

For the third time in two years, Duaringa residents are faced with the fetid fallout of a miserable life surrounded by a colony of 320,000 flying foxes.

The Central Highlands Regional Council has been using dispersal methods around a single house on the town's outskirts bearing the brunt of the winged tormentors.

A resident said the plague had been in the area for a couple of months, but had only recently taken up residence at a house on a large block in Elizabeth St surrounded by fig and mango trees.

Covered in a black cloud of bats, the screeching can be heard all day as they strip the native trees, drop faeces on the ground and destroy everything within their reach.

"Outside they are literally surrounded by bats," the resident said of the house under siege.

"They (the bats) are affecting people and they're heavily pregnant at the moment.

"If we can't get rid of them now, they're going to be here for months."

He praised the council for the prompt sourcing of permits to disperse the colony.

"This is the only council I have seen take a proactive and reactive action to look after its people… they must have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars," the resident said.

Mayor Peter Maguire said the people were the council's main priority.

"In my view we have to look after our community's interests first, as a local government, that's what we have to do," he said.

Tree loppers, a dozer, gas guns, foggers and a number of officials have been on site working through the night to the early hours, clearing bushland and setting up a barrier to relocate the bats.

Cr Maguire said they were hoping it would end the plague.

"We got the approval for the land clearing behind King St, and we're going to be lopping trees around the house in Elizabeth St," he said.

"There was a count of about 320,000 bats.

"We need to get them away from town."

Dispersal started on Monday and will be completed tomorrow.

"If we can keep them on the edge of the town, and they're not impacting the community, then that's what we want to achieve," he said.

"The big problem I had was the large amount of money it costs... which the community has had to pay, last time it was $150,000, and it's unfair."

He said the bats were in no danger and were not being removed ethically.

"We had the police services, Environmental Health and Protection and a wildlife carer on site while the dispersal was taking place," he said.

The bats first came to town in April 2012, hanging from the trees at Mackenzie Park.

Resident Sandra Ellison said this was the third time since 2012 her house had been the home to roosting bats.

"They land in our palm trees, break our leaves, and mess all over our clothes," she said. "It's filthy."

"I wouldn't even take anyone down to show them our pool, it's unhygienic.

April 2012 - 200,000 bats arrived at Mackenzie Park in Duaringa.

May 2012 - Approval to relocate the colony from Mackenzie Park was hanging on the State Government.

May 2012 - The State Government granted a damage mitigation permit for relocation.

June 2012 - About 30,000 bats remained.

October 2012 - 100,000 bats remained.

October 2012 - Council relocated colony.

February 2013 - The State Government passed down the $150,000 relocation bill to the ratepayers.

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