The following is a letter from Mayor Cr Kerry Hayes to Duaringa residents regarding the flying fox situation in Mackenzie Park.
‘There have been a lot of questions and concerns raised over the flying fox roost at Mackenzie Park in Duaringa recently and why the Little Red flying foxes were not dispersed upon their immediate discovery.
When the Little Reds came to the park, there was already an established roost of Black flying foxes present. However, because of their small numbers and less destructive behaviour this roost had gone undetected until the Little Reds arrived.
Consequently, the Black flying foxes had already entered their rearing season by the time they were discovered and dependent young were present in the roost. This meant council rangers were unable to carry out any dispersal activity, as governed by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) guidelines.
By the time the young of the Black flying foxes were independent, the Little Reds had entered their breeding and rearing season, an overlap that has once again delayed any dispersal activity.
As of Monday 26 September 2016, young were still present in the roost. Council officers will continue to monitor the situation with the view to conduct a dispersal program as soon as legally possible, subject to approval from EHP.
Until this time, it is important to remember that the risk of becoming infected with Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV) is very low, with less than 1% of the flying fox population carrying the disease. ABLV can only be transmitted when infected bat saliva enters the human body, usually through a bite or scratch. There is also no evidence that Hendra virus can be passed directly from bats to humans.
We understand that flying foxes play an important role in biodiversity and ecosystem health, but also appreciate community concerns and frustrations regarding their potential impact on lifestyle, health and safety. As such, we will continue to provide open and regular communication to Duaringa residents about flying fox management actions.
The Central Highlands Regional Council Flying Fox Management Plan provides strategies and considerations for the long-term management of flying foxes within the region. This plan draws on scientific literature relating to flying fox ecology and management, legal obligations and the learnings of other council regions.
If you have any questions or further concerns, please do not hesitate to contact council on 1300 242 686.
Thank you for your patience and cooperation.’
— Mayor Cr Kerry Hayes