Flying Fox update – Eidsvold
Eidsvold has hosted a small colony of Little Red Flying Foxes on the corner of Moreton and Rose Streets since mid-October. Whilst Council has received a number of initial reports, the number of enquiries has increased in recent weeks.
North Burnett Regional Council Mayor, Cr Rachel Chambers, advises that staff have been monitoring the flying fox roost in trees surrounding vacant shops since their arrival and initially trialled ultrasound devices to encourage dispersal, which has proved unsuccessful.
“The Little Red Flying Foxes are migratory and should generally move on after 6 to 8 weeks but nature is often unpredictable. Flying foxes will travel up to 50km at night to feed and people will often hear them at night foraging for food in both urban and rural areas,” Mayor Chambers said.
“At this point in time, the flying fox roost is not located in any occupied residential or commercial property.”
Cr Chambers highlighted the fact that attempts to disperse flying fox roosts elsewhere are often unsuccessful and that Council intervention at this time may result in the flying foxes taking up residence in someone’s back yard, a scenario that Council would not like to see for the residents of Eidsvold. Council will continue to monitor the situation and should the roost population increase significantly or relocate elsewhere in town, Council will review the situation.
Cr Chambers reminds the community that flying foxes are protected by the State Government under the Nature Conservation Act and that any management must be undertaken in accordance with strict guidelines, if at all permitted.
“The health and well-being of our residents is our priority, however we do not want to move one issue to become someone else’s problem,” Mayor Chambers said.
The following actions can reduce health risks related to flying foxes: Do not leave your washing out at night—bring it in before dusk; garage or cover your vehicles to ensure flying fox faeces doesn’t affect them; use a pool cover to reduce the risk of contamination; cover or place outdoor furniture under shelter at night; try not to disturb them—disturbing them only makes them noisier and heightens the odours; prune trees and reduce grassy understorey in your backyard to reduce the entry of flying foxes; and cover all water sources to ensure faeces can not be consumed by domestic animals or humans.
Research has shown people do not catch Hendra Virus from flying foxes, in fact a human can only catch Hendra from having close contact with an infected horse. Only a small percentage of flying foxes are infected with a disease called Australian Bat Lyssavirus. The virus can only be transmitted to humans by bites or scratches from infected bats or saliva into an open wound. If you are scratched or bitten seek medical attention immediately.
Council is currently monitoring the known urban flying fox roosts and may undertake dispersal activities should the need arise.
Should flying foxes attempt to roost in trees on your property, Council advises residents that they can undertake non harmful activities to detract them, such as making a loud noise with pots and pans, lawnmowers and so on. This is best attempted early in the morning when flying foxes are returning from feeding during the night. Under no circumstances should dispersal be undertaken during extreme temperatures.
Information on flying foxes can be viewed on the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection website.
For further information or queries regarding flying foxes, please contact Council’s Environmental Services Department on 1300 696 272 (1300 MY NBRC).