Health fears soar over two colonies of bats near Warwick High School.
Health fears soar over two colonies of bats near Warwick High School. Erin Smith

Qld Govt gives bat scare plan the tick of approval

THE State Government has approved radical measures to scare off Warwick's flying fox population - and they kick off at 3am on Tuesday.

Southern Downs Mayor Peter Blundell told the Daily News late yesterday a Gold Coast based firm specialising in wildlife scare tactics would be engaged to move our bats on from their local roosts, following health fears.

But the mayor was up-front in declaring that the "sound and light" measures to be used would cause some disturbance to residents, saying the council had no choice but to act on community concern.

He said noise such as fake gunshots and stock whips would be employed, along with floodlights, for about three hours each morning from Tuesday from 3am.

The experts hope for as result in the first few days, but it could take a week or more if the bats prove stubborn.

Dog owners near the river will be warned to secure their pets in the pre-dawn hours as ultrasonic noise also being used - audible to bats - could also prove a little scary to the canine population.

The approval from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection comes with strict conditions, including a requirement on council to cover up barbed wire near the colonies to prevent injury to the creatures.

Their roosts are concentrated in trees in the Queens Park section of the river and adjacent to Billabong St at the end of Wantley St, with part of Warwick State High School's Hamilton Oval cordoned off.

The scare tactics will be carried out by Nature Call, also operating as Biodiversity Australia.

"We'll be letterboxing those residents closest to the river but the reality is the measures that are going to be used will cause some discomfort to a proportion of householders," Cr Blundell said.

"Council will be meeting the cost of this exercise of around $25,000, but we have written to the Department of Environment and Heritage Management, Education Queensland and Queensland Health as we feel their assistance would be appropriate.

"There is no doubt it is going to be noisy for a number of mornings and we just ask residents for their patience and their forbearance.

"We also strongly urge dog owners to ensure their pets are safely restrained as the ultrasonic noise to be used could disturb them."

Cr Blundell said the 3am start was timed to coincide with the time the bats usually started to return to their roosts.

"The dispersement plan is aimed at disturbing them as they start to settle back in their colonies," the mayor explained.

"The crews doing the work will need to be mobile depending on the actual movements of the flying foxes on a particular morning.

"Our aim is to move the flying foxes about five kilometres downstream, to the area near the railway bridge on the Allora back road."

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