Residents of a town in North Queensland are calling for action over a “plague” of bats with the population estimated to be more than 200,000.
Bats outnumber people in Charters Towers more than 20 to one, and resident Kimberley Gott said the ongoing problem is the “worst it’s ever been” this summer.
Ms Gott told Yahoo7 she used to take her seven-year-old son to Lissner Park to see the chickens and feed the ducks before it became the town’s “unofficial no-go zone”.
“Everything in the park is covered in flying fox faeces and you worry about getting urinated on,” she said.
“And the smell, it’s enough to make you physically ill. It burns your nostrils. The smell is absolutely horrendous.”
The mum said nearby Centenary Park had also been affected by the town’s bat problem – according to the ABC, local council estimates the “plague” of bats has reached about 200,000. The ABS says less than 9,000 people currently live in Charters Towers.
“It’s affected the town pool too – we just can’t take kids swimming anywhere,” Ms Gott said.
“In the afternoon people won’t go outside when the bats fly overhead. You go to Woolworths and you have to hold your breath because of the smell.”
Both Lissner and Centenary parks were closed last week along with Kennedy Regiment Memorial Pool.
Ms Gott said her car also looked like “someone has poured acid on it” due to bat droppings, and said the animals made noise “constantly, all day”.
She said council tried to move the bats three years ago but were stopped by environmentalists.
Flying fox ecologist Jon Luly told the ABC the bats were best left alone and there was “not much of a risk to health” in having the animals around. He added they are important pollinators.
Charters Towers, once the 2nd city of Queensland is under seize from bats, can anyone help or does anyone care? pic.twitter.com/WmokEBa0P2— Carole Ruby (@CaroleRuby1) December 6, 2017
He said the large population was due to an abundance of flowering eucalypts in the region.
The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection said it was working with local council to manage the issue.
Ms Gott said she will address the issue with council and member for Kennedy Bob Katter.