Ingham Daily Press

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Up with the bats: Will 4.30 am start drive locals batty?

Image by Kieran Volpe, from January 2020.

THE plague of bats that terrorised Ingham last year are making a comeback – but there is a plan to stop them in their flaps.

Efforts to repel the returning flying foxes will be ramped up at 4.30 am tomorrow, the day after Australia Day.

Hundreds of thousands of bats invaded the town last year, outnumbering people as stories of a ‘Bat tornado’ made headlines around the world.

The animals caused chaos, with locals complaining about the smell, the dirt and the noise.

A heatwave caused further problems, with bats that were unable to survive the soaring temperatures dropping dead out of trees.

Mayor of Hinchinbrook Ramon Jayo is asking people to be understanding about the early start.

He said: ‘Council staff commence work at 4.30 am.

‘We understand that the noise may cause some temporary inconvenience, however, this is far better than allowing the group to return.

‘We ask that you please be courteous to staff during this time as they are just doing their job.’

After a determined effort last year, the bats were moved on from Ingham, and council are hoping their proactive approach will prevent another bat plague of biblical proportions.

Work will start before sunrise tomorrow on Berwick Street, where council say the flying foxes are trying to set-up a new colony.

Grants and governance officer Bridget Bell said: ‘Please do not attempt to touch a bat with bare hands as we do not want you scratched or bitten.

‘Private landowners are reminded that if flying foxes land in your trees, you are allowed to dissuade them from staying, by use of non-destructive disturbance techniques including smoke, water sprinklers, visual deterrents such as imitation predators and bright lights – and noise from various commercial or improvised products.

‘Due to increased flying fox activity in recent weeks and attempts to establish a new camp adjacent to Berwick Street, council will be escalating the current maintenance works program of dispersal activities commencing Wednesday 27 January 2021, weather permitting.

‘The program will focus on the Berwick Street area and will be conducted from as early as 4.30 am.

‘It will involve the use of additional techniques that may cause some disruption to residents and members of the public in the area.

‘Residents are asked to ensure that they secure all pets during the operation times.

‘Council thanks residents for their continued support and assistance throughout the past 12 months and into the future as all efforts are made to disperse the flying foxes in accordance with the code of practice.’

Ingham’s bat tornado made headlines around the world last year. Video by Kieran Volpe, from January 2020.

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