NEW FOCUS: Fresh moves on flying foxes.
NEW FOCUS: Fresh moves on flying foxes. Contributed

New officer to tackle colony within months

AFTER the announcement of funding for flying fox management, council have outlined their vision.

Last week the NSW government announced a grant of $42,000 to go towards the creation of a flying fox officer within council.

Clarence Valley Council environment, planning and community director, Des Schroder, said the funding announcement followed council's adoption of the Maclean Flying-fox Management Strategy in 2018.

"As a result of that funding we will be able to put on a part-time flying fox officer, who we hope will start early next month," he said.

"Their immediate priority will be to work on the implementation of the Maclean Flying Fox Management Strategy, but also to develop a council area-wide plan to manage community expectations and concerns.

Part of the strategy involved regenerating some rainforest in the vicinity to encourage flying foxes into areas and further away from residences, something which Mr Schroder said could be done with organisations like Envite.

Councillor Greg Clancy who had been involved in the Maclean Big Bat festival said any funding for a dedicated position was welcome, as it had been for other animals like coastal emus and koalas.

"So that is great news, this position will hopefully assist in sorting out some conflicts because dispersal is not a not option.

Mr Clancy said the colony at Maclean was a long term "maternity colony" which had been around for a century and the importance of their micro-habitat and lack of an alternative would mean they would be there for many more years to come.

This was something echoed by Mr Schroder who said it was important for people to remember there was no immediate 'fix' for flying fox management in Maclean.

"They have been coming there for probably hundreds of years and regardless of what people do they will continue to come," he said.

"We need to do whatever we can, without harming them, to get them to move a bit further from residents and part of that process will be to provide suitable habitat nearby."



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