NOT A PEST: President of Queensland Wildlife Christine Wynn speaks out in the bats defence. Photo: Scottie Simmonds / NewsMail
NOT A PEST: President of Queensland Wildlife Christine Wynn speaks out in the bats defence. Photo: Scottie Simmonds / NewsMail Scottie Simmonds

Bat colony causes commotion

THE Bargara bats have become a topical debate this week, following the NewsMail's coverage of the issue on Wednesday.

Christine Wynne, president of Queensland Wildlife Carers and Volunteers said people need the facts, not inflammatory information.

"Flying foxes are not pests; they are a protected native species and should be treated with the same respect as turtles and koalas," she said.

"Flying foxes play a major role in the environment as they are one of our most important pollinators. They're even more important pollinators than bees.

"In conversations I've had with local MP Stephen Bennett, he refers to the flying foxes as, and I quote 'an iconic native species', so why then is his party allowing farmers to shoot them and encouraging their persecution."

Mrs Wynne urged Mr Bennett to stop playing politics with native animals.

"This planet belongs to the animals as well as the people.  "The arrogance of human beings astounds me," she said.

"We live in an area which we share with many different native species, if people can't accept and embrace nature, maybe they should move to the middle of a big city."

Mrs Wynne said there are no risks to health living near a flying fox colony.

 "Hendra virus cannot be transmitted directly from bats to humans and lyssavirus can only be transferred through a deep bite or scratch," she said.

"If people leave the bats alone and don't touch them - there's absolutely no problem."

"People also say they are smelly - they don't smell. They only eat fruit."

Mrs Wynne said the colony at Bargara should be left alone.

"The black flying fox have dependent young and the little red flying fox are pregnant and will give birth in May and June - not March like the television reported last night (Wednesday 17) - that's definitely not right."

The wildlife carer said she recently had a little red flying fox with shot gun pellets in its wing.

Mrs Wynne had this message for residents in the area; "It's nature, you have to learn to live with it. "I don't really see what the problem is," she said.

Bargara resident Rochelle Nieuwennuizen disagrees and believes the bats having are a negative affect on the region and should be shot.

"It will deter holiday makers to come to Bargara with all the stinking bats," she said.

"If they're going to relocate them, they'll be a menace for someone else.

Mrs Nieuwenhuizen said the smell and noise was unbearable.

"It's a nightmare! You don't want that in your neighbourhood," she said. 

"I don't think they should wait until they've finished breeding, there will be more of them. Thin them out now!"

"It seems farmers are allowed to shoot them "In Africa they shoot the animals, why not they do that here, they're a menace."



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