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They’re our divisive neighbours who feast on fruit, make a mess in your pool and trigger noise complaints. 

On the other hand, they’re admired by many tourists and are contributors to a thriving natural environment. 

Flying foxes have always been a hot topic and the Douglas Shire Council is responding to the debate! 

It is using a $42,000 Queensland Government grant to formulate a Flying Fox roost management plan – authored by Dr Noel Preece and his colleague Maree Treadwell. 

In formulating the plan, the pair are currently talking with residents about their experiences with flying foxes and sharing some of the strategies available to encourage bats to find new places to set up camp.

An information session will be held at the Port Douglas Community Centre on April 13 between 11am and 3pm. 

Professor Preece said the community needed to look at a multi-strategy approach rather than focussing on relocation. 

“The standard approach for the last 100 years has been to disperse flying foxes,” Professor Preece said. 

“It doesn’t work – flying foxes go where they want to go. 

“You can modify vegetation adjacent to housing. You can use things like sprinklers and spraying mechanisms in a random pattern that disturbs the flying foxes before they roost. 

“We’ve seen other councils spend a huge amount of time and money trying to get rid of some camps. It’s been unsuccessful and very expensive.  

“That money could’ve been used to buy car covers, putting covers over pools or washing on the line and that sort of thing.” 

Ms Treadwell said people had diverse views about how the community should coexist with flying foxes.  

“We have got some people who have said they haven’t slept for I don’t know how long because of the noise who just want immediate answers,” she said. 

“Others consider a long-term solution like a management plan is better and then we have other people who don’t want any management whatsoever and would like the flying-foxes to be left alone.” 

Ms Treadwell said flying foxes played an important role in spreading seeds across Far North Queensland. 

“They are like giant bees or miniature cassowaries that fly; they can spread seeds up to 80 kilometres per night.” 

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