Over 1300 residents complete Survey
Council’s Flying Fox Management Survey closed late last year, with 1333 residents completing the survey. The survey was introduced to hear from the community about how Council should manage flying fox numbers as past dispersal measures had no long-term solution and costs exceeding $430,000.
Mayor Liz Schmidt responded to the results of the survey. “I would have liked to have seen more residents from the wider community express their opinion. Since 2001, the different Councils have applied for 20 permits and spent a lot of ratepayers’ money on dispersal activities.”
Many residents expressed concern over disease, smell, noise and safety of children. 169 residents wanted to see an annual culling of flying foxes to control numbers. Others expressed concerns over the use of parks and facilities being hampered, and others wanted to see the flying foxes permanently relocated.
“I know a lot of residents would like to see culling happen. As a Council, we must obey the law. Culling flying foxes can only be used by farmers as a last resort.”
The Department of Environment and Science has stated that “Widespread culling of flying-foxes will not be authorised." [www.ehp.qld.gov.au]. In Queensland, all flying foxes are a protected species under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. Under this law lethal damage mitigation permits may only be issued to protect commercial fruit crops, and only after non-lethal measures have been exhausted. These permits are also controlled by strict quotas.
“I want to thank all the residents who completed Council’s survey. The information will be used to move forward. We’ll work with the community, within the confines of legislation, to come up with long-term strategies. We’ll be forming an advisory group with the community to ensure this happens.” said Mayor Schmidt.
The Flying Fox Advisory Group will be established after Council’s statutory General Meeting of Council in February. Its purpose is to work on future management strategies. Council is currently in the early stages of drafting a Terms of Reference, to form the group.
The Group will be made up of members of Council, senior staff and members of the community. Council will call for expressions of interest in the coming months from the community.
Graphic snapshot of survey responses follows:
EJH 01 FEBRUARY, 2018