Bat Conservation and Rescue Queensland defends critters
AN ORGANISATION dedicated to protecting the welfare of bats has spoken out in their defence.
The bats have had a bad rap in Bundaberg recently, with Bundaberg Regional Council doing its best to force them out of nesting sites in Bargara and the Botanic Gardens.
But Bat Conservation and Rescue Queensland vice-president Denise Wade said bats were Australia's most important native animal.
And she said treated properly there was no reason anybody should catch any dangerous diseases from them.
"If you don't touch bats you have nothing to fear," she said. Mrs Wade said the only disease carried by bats that humans had to worry about was lyssavirus.
"Lyssavirus is only carried in their saliva and is only present in a very small percentage of the bat population at any one time," she said.
"Lyssavirus is fatal to bats too so they do die if they have it." Mrs Wade said anybody who was scratched or bitten by a bat should go straight to hospital for treatment.
"Only three people in history have died from lyssavirus," she said.
"That could have been prevented if they had gone straight for medical help.
"The message is don't touch bats."
Mrs Wade said bats were essential to preserve the biodiversity of Australia's vegetation.
"They are Australia's only nocturnal pollinator and seed disperser," she said.
"Some native trees only release their pollen at night, and there are no birds or bees around then to pollinate them."
Mrs Wade said if anyone found an injured bat they should leave it alone and call a qualified wildlife carer.