A FRUSTRATED Porter St resident, dealing with an estimated 40,000-strong flying fox colony along the Peel River, has considered cutting down the trees around his home to rid his family of the menace and health concerns.
The flying fox colony and a lack of action to rid the area of the invasion is sending Brendan Murphy and his young family, well, batty.
The Murphy home is 70 metres from the banks of the Peel River where the colony has taken up residence.
He, wife Donna, and their children, seven-year-old Codie and four-year-old Tori, have felt the full brunt of the unwanted flying visitors since they arrived in late June and despite numerous reports to authorities, until yesterday afternoon no help had been offered.
The extent of the gripe Mr Murphy has with the pests – “the noise, the defecating, the smell, the mess, they’re killing my trees” – goes so far he has considered taking to the trees around his home of 18 years with a chainsaw.
“If I get rid of the trees, that’s one thing less they can damage,” he said.
The biggest concern Mr Murphy has had in the 10 weeks since the grey-headed flying foxes took up residence near his home was the health implications for his family and his dogs.
“We keep being told they are not dangerous and to leave them alone and they will disappear,” he said.
“To my mind that’s not good enough. What if they don’t leave?
“No one is taking any responsibility for them or trying to move them on.”
It is understood the flying foxes – which are believed to be a combination of a number of colonies that recently vacated sites in places as far south as Sydney – were drawn to the region as a result of the flowering whitebox gums.
Mr Murphy said he had reported his issues to Tamworth Regional Council, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and a number of other authorities.
“Everyone says they can’t help you, that we’llhave to wait and they will eventually move on,” he said.
“The problem is if they damage things, if one
of my children or animals gets sick – then what
happens? There needs to be some kind of back-up plan to get rid of them.”
When Mr Murphy told one government body he wanted to cut down a number of she-oak and pepper trees he planted when he bought his home, they threatened to fine him.
He was also told not to use noise to move them.
Mr Murphy said falling debris from the trees along the riverbank, as a result of the damage being done by the pests, was dangerous to walkers in the area.
“The flying foxes have done so much damage and stripped the trees so badly that limbs, big and small, are falling pretty constantly,” he said.
Late yesterday councillors Col Murray and Russell Webb and council’s parks and horticulture manager met with the Murphys.
Council will now work with local beekeepers to see how much longer the gums are expected to flower and what options there might be to encourage the pests to leave.
It is understood a representative from National Parks will visit the house tomorrow.