Hopes are high that Duaringa will be relieved from flying foxes for now, after a joint effort between the community and Central Highlands Regional Council dispersed the colony that has been troubling the town over the last few years.
Council crews set up equipment and briefed volunteers on Tuesday evening. Dispersal began when flying foxes returned from night-time feeding, Wednesday morning at 5.00 am. Together with community members, flying foxes were deterred from settling in Duaringa with smoke machines, loud noise, and flashing lights.
Council’s Manager Planning and Environment Kirstin Byrne was on-site and said it was a swift and efficient dispersal; a benefit to the flying foxes and the community.
‘We are glad to say that, after an hour and a half of dispersal activities on Wednesday morning, the flying fox colony settled in bushland outside of Duaringa,’ she said.
‘Over the next few days we will continue dispersal activities and ideally see the flying foxes stay in the new location, however, it’s impossible to predict when they’ll resettle on their own.’
Council is hoping that the dispersal will change the colonies’ behaviour in the future.
‘It’s known that flying foxes return to their birthplace and this season’s young haven’t been born yet.
‘We are hoping to see them breed in the new location and return there in the future, rather than the township.’
Mayor Kerry Hayes said it is time to bring flying fox management to the broader government agenda.
‘Flying fox management is a priority for our region and people really got involved, applied for dispersal permits and worked with our rangers,’ he said.
‘But, at the end of the day, ratepayers are footing the bill for each of these dispersals and we cannot afford to keep paying.
‘Council is seeking a unified and community-minded solution and management approach to flying foxes and we have put forward our case that the Queensland and Australian Government take the responsibility for their management.’
Council submitted flying fox management as a motion for this year’s annual local government conference to be held in Canberra in June.