The dispersal of flying foxes in Duaringa next week has been cancelled because of animal welfare concerns.
Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Kerry Hayes said he’s ‘extremely disappointed’ that the thoughtless actions of a few may have now caused extended distress for the animals and the community.
‘I’ve learned today of alleged interference to the flying fox colony using methods outside the Queensland Government’s code of practice that has caused immense distress to the flying foxes.
‘Our rangers, accompanied by a wildlife carer, visited Duaringa today to assess the situation and were, quite frankly, appalled at the condition these animals have been reduced to with many exhausted, injured and dead.
‘I want to be quite clear that I do not dispute that large colonies of flying foxes in an urban area are terribly annoying and a huge concern for people, but that does not mean anyone can just take it into their own hands to get rid of them.
‘Flying foxes are vulnerable, protected Australian wildlife; closely regulated by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP)—it is simply against the law to interfere with them.
‘The actions in Duaringa are unhelpful, cruel and make the task for our properly trained rangers even more difficult.
‘When the animals are in this condition council is not allowed under the code of practice to conduct dispersal activities because the flying foxes are too weak to fly and leave the roost to find alternative roosting places.
‘The advice I have received is the colony must be left alone for a week to recover and the dispersal activity will then be reassessed.
‘I will also say that the very serious allegations of animal welfare breaches will be fully investigated by council in conjunction with the state government and anyone found to be in breach of the legislation protecting these animals may face penalties,’ the mayor concluded.