Managing the bats


ILUKA residents will start receiving questionnaires soon about what they believe is the best way to deal with the flying-fox colony in Cave Street.

Clarence MP Steve Cansdell said in order to establish a plan to manage the colony, community opinion had to be sort.

"One of the things we need to do to move forward is put a plan of management together and one of those aspects is to gather community opinion in Iluka," he said.

"So what we are going to do is get a survey out to all of Iluka residents for feedback."

Mr Cansdell said the survey arose out of the recent Iluka community meeting where nearly all of the crowd agreed to have the bats moved on.

"Even though we had about 95 per cent support for it (moving the bats), it's only right to get community feeling about it and the survey out," he said.

Mr Cansdell said before anything could be done to the colony, a National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) 12-point plan needed to be fulfilled.

He said a that only then could a move-on licence be issued.

Mr Cansdell said flying-fox expert Dr Chris Tiddeman would also be engaged to help put together the plan of management.

"We have to be in contact with Dr Tiddeman to get a cost from him about putting the plan of management together," he said.

"(It) would cover a lot of the 12-point plan and then (we need) to work out where we can get the money from."

Mr Cansdell said any plan would need to consider the health of the animals concerned.

"Any plan that is put together has got to be a plan that is not going to deliberately or maliciously harm the bats," he said.

"It's got to be well structured and I think the fact we've got the Maclean experience to go on ... it will go a long way to putting together a very successful plan that will hopefully be accepted by the Department of Environment and Conservation."

Meanwhile, residents in Lismore can sympathise with Iluka's Cave St residents, after a colony recently moved it.

ABC Far North Coast took calls yesterday from irate homeowners asking the Department of Environment and Conservation to move the bats on.

The DEC said they were reluctant to do so, but advised the residents they could apply for a licence to move them.

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