FRIDAY will be an early key milestone in the relocation of 1200 bats from Albury’s Botanic Gardens.
Albury Council staff must provide a status report to the Office of Environment and Heritage at the end of the first week of the program designed to make the gardens bat-free.
Gardens supervisor Jason Kimball and five council staff were on site at 5.30am yesterday armed with garbage bin lids, stock whips, starting pistols, audio recordings of whipper snippers, mowers and chainsaws, and made sufficient noise to move most of the bats to an area near the Murray River.
He described the first morning as a success, but warned nearby residents they could be subjected to the early morning cacophony for up to a month.
By dusk last night a small number remained in the botanic gardens trees and an effort was made to scare them out.
However, Mr Kimball said staff would not be surprised to see bats there today.
“We are under no disillusion they will arrive tomorrow,” he said.
“This is where they are used to coming.
“We will continue until we’ve moved them to another area we are happy with.”
Mr Kimball said he was confident the program — which replicates a similar relocation in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens 11 years ago involving 30,000 bats — would be successful.
“All going well they won’t return this season,” he said.
“But they migrate north and could return in spring, late September early October.
“We have the licence and measures in place to move them on straight away.”
Excessive noise upsets the routine the bats have enjoyed in recent months since splintering from a known bat camp in the Murray River-Wodonga Creek area.
Council staff are eager to remove the bat colony to prevent permanent damage to trees, including a 103-year-old Kauri.
But some minor damage and die back on trees has become evident.
“We are confident the trees will recover,” Mr Kimball said.
“Arborist reports state if the bats are moved there will be no long-standing damage.”
He said there had been no negative feedback from nearby residents.