Heat, drought and bushfires have been disastrous for flying foxes. (AAP Image/Sue Graham)
Heat, drought and bushfires have been disastrous for flying foxes. (AAP Image/Sue Graham)

Mother Nature causing havoc to bat population

GRANITE Belt residents may have noticed an absence of a winged creature from our skies in recent months.

Typically, flying foxes would be in plague proportions this time of year.

Farmers have reported significant losses to produce between November and January in previous year's.

But drought and bushfires has seen their numbers dwindle according to Southern Downs Regional Council.

"The majority of the flying foxes are roosting in trees on an island in Quart Pot Creek," a council spokesperson said.

"Council has received a low number of complaints regarding flying foxes this season and this is likely due to the drought and bushfires.

"The drought has caused a flying fox starvation event to be declared in eastern Australia by the Department of Environment and Science.

"The recent bushfires have also destroyed a large amount of the natural habitat used by flying foxes, including a roost site near Applethorpe."

Assessments from council suggest that between 2000-2500 black and red flying foxes have taken up roost on Quart Pot Creek.

"Past experience in the region suggests that the little red flying foxes typically only stay for four to six weeks before moving on.

"Officers are continuing to monitor the roost on a weekly basis to assess any changes," the council spokesperson said.

According to Queensland Health, bats and flying foxes pose a very low risk to human health.

Council has commissioned the development of a Flying Fox Management Plan that's due for completion by the end of March.

Stanthorpe Border Post

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