Flying foxes.
Flying foxes.

DERM inspects colony

A WILDLIFE officer from the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) was in Warwick yesterday to inspect the colonies of flying foxes in the area to determine whether they posed a health and safety threat to the public.

The inspection came in the wake of the death of one horse from the flying fox-borne Hendra virus near Beaudesert over the weekend and the exposure of eight people to the horse in question.

The colony at the end of Guy St, near Queen’s Park, was brought to the attention of the department on Wednesday.

The colony is living in trees over a horse paddock – although the owner of the horses had moved them when the flying foxes turned up a couple of months ago.

Another colony was also in the trees of at the end of Dragon St.

A spokeswoman for the council said they had no role to play in the process until DERM had surveyed the area.

She said once DERM had determined whether or not council had a role to play, they would look at their options and next course of action.

A DERM spokeswoman said if the animals were found to be affecting the health and well-being of the public, or causing damage to the community, a person or organisation could apply for a permit to have them humanely dispersed.

“DERM officers have today surveyed the colony, and DERM is now confirming the tenure of the land the roosts are on to determine any further action that might be considered,” she said.

“These flying foxes are protected species– with the majority of the colony made up of grey-headed flying foxes which are a federally listed vulnerable species.

“Long-term management options can include improving or planting alternative habitat/food trees elsewhere to attract the flying foxes away.”

She said the department was committed to working with communities to ensure flying foxes in urban areas are managed safely and humanely.

Two properties had been closed off while horses and people were tested for the Hendra virus which has killed four vets in Queensland since 1994.

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