MOUNT Isa bat carer, Sandra Hagan applauds the Mount Isa City Council’s proposal to establish a permanent roosting spot to cope with the city’s annual invasion of flying foxes but warns the project will need expert help.
“The council would need to have a bat expert to help with this,” she said.
“You have to be careful about what type of land you use and the site would need to be close to a water course, like a dam.
“There’s no point planting a heap of mango trees because the bats feed off mangoes but they don’t roost there.”
“They only feed off mangoes when the native trees are not in flower, or if storms have destroyed the nectar providing flowers.”
Bats didn’t want to be in the city or towns, but because they were being harassed and shot at on rural properties, they sought refuge in towns, she said.
“They’ve never been in towns in such numbers as in recent years.”
Professor of Ecology at Griffith University, Carla Catterall said any effort to provide flying foxes with an alternative roosting habitat was a good idea, but qualified her statement.
“However there are three important qualifications to this statement.
“First, there is still a lot that we don’t know about what makes a good roost site for flying foxes. Second, any constructed roost site needs to be properly designed to meet the specific roosting needs and preferences of the bats, or else they will not use it. So, design input from experts would be essential.
“Third, efforts to force bats to move from existing roosts have not always worked in the past; so there is significant risk that a lot of effort and money will be spent without the hoped-for outcome,” Professor Catterall said.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman from Xstrata Mount Isa Mines confirmed the company had been in discussions with the Mount Isa City Council about allocating a parcel of land on their mine lease to assist in the council’s bat relocation plan.
“We will continue to work with Mount Isa City Council and other parties when required, to provide the best possible option for the relocation area,” the spokeswoman said.
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