A HIGH school project tracking the movement of flying foxes has collided head first with the angry attitude of residents toward the animals' camp in Yamba.
Clarence Valley bat expert Billie Roberts, who is overseeing a Maclean High School project to fit bats with satellite trackers to map their movements, said residents vandalised attempts to catch bats for tracking on Monday night.
She said ropes used to attach mist nets had been taken and some residents she had spoken to said she could expect more of the same if they continued to work with the bats.
Neil James, a resident of The Mainbrace, said he had spoken to Ms Roberts but knew nothing about the disappearance of the ropes.
"She half-heartedly tried to say I had been down there," he said. "But I'm in a wheelchair. There's no way I could go do anything.
"But ever since they (the students) disturbed the bats, the stink has got worse."
Mr James said residents were sick of the bats, which set up a permanent camp in Mangrove Swamp near The Mainbrace about two years ago.
Ms Roberts said the students switched their attention to the Yamba bats after attempts to catch them at the Maclean High camp had drawn a blank.
"The bats tend to fly higher at Maclean and there are a few places where it's too awkward for us to put poles for the mist nets," Ms Roberts said. "We hadn't been able to catch any there so we switched to the camp at The Mainbrace in Yamba."
Ms Roberts said despite the threats, the project had gone ahead successfully.
She said the project gave students access to research techniques involving satellite technology and would generate valuable data for research into the movements of flying foxes.
She said not all residents who approached the students were angry.