Landholder applies for bat removal

THE first damage mitigation permit for the removal of flying foxes in the Warwick area has been applied for.

Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) wildlife director Ashley Bunce said DERM had received an application in November from a private landholder concerning a roost in the area.

"The application is currently being assessed," Dr Bunce said.

"In Queensland, landowners or local authorities can apply to DERM for a damage mitigation permit to manage flying foxes if the animals are causing damage, economic losses or pose a risk to human health."

He said flying foxes were a protected species and a damage mitigation permit was the only legal way to deal with them.

"It is an offence to deliberately kill or injure them, or interfere with their roosts without approval," Dr Bunce said.

Despite community concern over the potential health risk and property damage by the native animals, neither individuals nor companies from the Southern Downs had applied for a permit in the past.

Dr Bunce said as pollinators, flying foxes played a crucial role in keeping Australian forests healthy.

"In turn these forests provide us with clean air, clean water, they store carbon and provide places for recreation and tourism," he said.

Dr Bunce said catching disease from the animals was unlikely.

"Flying fox bites are rare, but anyone who receives a bite or scratch from a flying fox should seek medical advice," he said.

"People should not approach or handle flying foxes. If a sick, injured or orphaned flying fox is found, it should be reported to the department's hotline."

For more information about flying foxes go to www.derm.qld.gov.au.



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