ALBURY’S 2000-strong fruit bat population will remain located on the banks of the Murray River, almost 200 metres away from the nearest home despite a city councillor’s wish for them to be eradicated altogether.
The bats or flying foxes have remain settled in the area known as Leaney’s Bend to the west of central Albury after being hunted from the Botanic Gardens in 2014 amid public safety fears associated with the deadly disease carriers.
Allbury Council this week ticked off a draft flying fox colony management plan which recommends Leaney’s Bend remain their long-term home due to their minimal direct interaction with humans.
But, Cr Darren Cameron voted against the move and wanted them gone permanently.
“It is my personal opinion that council is taking the wrong track with these filthy, lyssavirus carrying thieves of fruit,” he said.
“We should be applying for permits to destroy the rotten things.
“It is unbelievable to me that they are classed in any way threatened when in such abundance in NSW and Australia generally.”
Cr Alice Glachan also had some concerns about the “health factor” and queried whether there could be a better location and if the bat population would grow beyond present levels.
Director Simona Coad said moving the bats would be a challenging exercise as was the case when moving them from the Botanic Gardens.
Council staff successfully generated loud noise from starter pistols, stock whips and audio recordings of chainsaws and mowers to blast them out of the gardens.
But initially they only travelled as far as Bungambrawartha Creek near the Albury pool before another relocation exercise took place to Leaney’s Bend.
Deputy mayor Amanda Cohn said it was the best outcome for human health, public amenity and the environment.
“I run along the Wagirra Trail and see this colony on a regular basis,” she said.
“It is beautiful to see our native wildlife in appropriate places.”
Cr David Thurley agreed Leaney’s Bend was the preferred location.
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