Wildlife officers from DERM are tracking down the Warwick property owners whose land hosts two colonies of flying foxes.
Wildlife officers from DERM are tracking down the Warwick property owners whose land hosts two colonies of flying foxes. Shannon Newley

Flying fox Hendra link warning

WILDLIFE officers from the Department of Resource Management (DERM) are still tracking down the Warwick property owners whose land is host to at least two huge colonies of flying foxes.

Yesterday, Federal LNP Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott renewed calls for the Federal Government to take urgent action to protect communities against the potentially deadly Hendra virus.

The call comes as eight people wait anxiously to find out whether they have contracted Hendra virus after coming into contact with an infected horse near Beaudesert recently.

While test results from samples taken from five horses on a property at Kerry near Beaudesert have come back negative for Hendra virus, Biosecurity Queensland chief veterinary officer Dr Rick Symons said while the results were promising, these were just the first of three rounds of testing.

Hendra virus is present in flying fox populations and can be transferred to horses, between horses, and from horses to humans.

However the risk of horses being infected, and in turn humans, is very low.

But Mr Scott said it was imperative for the Federal Government to take steps against the spread of the virus.

“With fruit picking season under way across the Granite Belt and trees thick with flying foxes, it is time for the government to step up and do something before another tragedy occurs closer to home,” he said.

“During last year’s federal election, the Coalition committed to funding personal protective equipment for vets and their assistants at risk of Hendra virus infection.

“We also promised to ramp-up efforts to develop a vaccine against the deadly disease.

“Labor has failed to meet this commitment and we are now seeing the potentially fatal consequences of that decision unfold before our eyes.

“The Coalition’s initiative would have given our vets and their families a sense of reassurance.

“Instead Labor is leaving peoples’ lives in the balance.”

Earlier this week, the Daily News learned of hordes of flying foxes hanging over the Condamine River at the end of Guy St, near Queen’s Park.

DERM is assessing their impact on public health and safety. If the flying foxes are found to be a threat, council could apply for a permit to have them humanely dispersed.

The owner of one nearby paddock had to move horses he had living there because of concerns over the flying foxes.

There is a large colony also in residence in Allora and growers on the Granite Belt say their properties are riddled with the creatures.

For more information about Hendra virus, visit www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.



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