Flying foxes have a PR problem. When they congregate in large numbers in or near residential areas other inhabitants have a tendency to complain.
Brendan Murphy of Tamworth’s Porter St is a case in point. He is unhappy and frustrated with the
invasion of 40,000 flying foxes at his back door. Others in the neighbourhood share his concerns.
Flying fox colonies in residential areas are an unhappy marriage, but what frustrates Mr Murphy more is the fact little can be done to move the colony on, so residents can live without the noise, smell, mess and the destruction of trees.
Mr Murphy and others like him are told to be patient, that the flying foxes will eventually move on, but no one can say when. But in many cases the flying foxes do not move on. They become permanent residents, and kill the trees they live in after a period of time.
Singleton’s Burdekin Park has been home to a flying fox colony for 12 years. Many of the old trees in the park, which were of heritage value, have been killed. The flying foxes have moved on to neighbouring trees in the park and have been undeterred by the efforts to move them on.
The public park has closed areas, to keep patrons away from the polluted area. Anzac Day ceremonies at the town’s memorial have had to be moved because the park cannot be used for community engagements.
The Singleton council has been told the flying foxes are protected and cannot be disturbed, and therefore, is powerless to achieve an outcome.
It is a similar story at other centres.
The issue is an unwillingness to deal with the problem. But when temporary becomes permanent the pendulum must surely swing in the direction of residents.
People no not want to see the flying foxes harmed, they just don’t want them living in their own backyard.
The expectation is that they will be moved on to find another home where there are no human neighbours.
Why is that so hard to achieve?