News

Culling 'only option' with bats

Flying foxes in Ross Creek in Yeppoon.
Flying foxes in Ross Creek in Yeppoon. Nikita Watts Roknbats

COUNCILLOR Ellen Smith believes culling the 10 flying fox colonies in the Rockhampton region could be the only way to combat further hendra outbreaks.

The self-confessed horse lover, and chairwoman of Rockhampton Regional Council's health and compliance committee, yesterday requested an urgent council report on the culling of the animals, which are carriers of the deadly virus.

Cr Smith plans to seek the support of the council to obtain a special culling permit from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

"We definitely meet the criteria for it endangering the community's safety," she said.

A Nankin woman remains in hospital for observation after being in contact with her foal which died from hendra on July 15.

The woman was yesterday in a stable condition and had not shown any symptoms of the virus.

The virus has killed four people since it was discovered in 1994.

Cr Smith's comments came after Premier Campbell Newman said on his visit to Paradise Lagoons Campdraft on Saturday the State Government would support the local government in humanely moving the flying foxes.

Cr Smith said she knew she would come up against resistance from conservationist groups.

She challenged them to provide her with information on the benefits of flying foxes.

"I have never ever seen good reasons coming from (the conservationist groups)," she said.

"What good do they possibly do to our environment?"

Cr Smith believes moving the colonies would only shift the threat of hendra elsewhere.

She added that there were simply too many flying foxes to move and they could easily return to their roosts.

The report will not come before the council until the committee holds a meeting again on August 7.

STAY SAFE

Hendra virus is carried by bats - they do not show symptoms

If you are concerned about a horse contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or 1800 675 888

More information at www.daff.qld.gov.au

Topics:  bats culling flying foxes hendra



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