Trees to be lopped to eradicate flying foxes

FLYING foxes driving Griffith residents batty will get their marching orders as council attempts to safeguard locals from rabies.

The decision to lop trees along Kookora Street came after a Leeton woman was scratched by a bat carrying the deadly strain of rabies known as Lyssavirus.

Council workers will lop around five trees on the problem street at a cost of roughly $10,000 in the hope the Little Red Flying Foxes retreat across the road to Ioof park where they pose less danger.

The decision to lop trees along Kookora Street came after a Leeton woman was scratched by a bat carrying the deadly strain of rabies known as Lyssavirus.

The decision to lop trees along Kookora Street came after a Leeton woman was scratched by a bat carrying the deadly strain of rabies known as Lyssavirus.

In a presentation to Tuesday's council meeting, NSW Parks and Wildlife area manager Robin Mares said trimming the trees could make them a less desirable habitat during the day, but he didn't make any promises.

"There are some councils that have applied to move them completely from the town, but it's quite an expensive and long-term consideration," he said.

"People walking around banging drums early in the morning is the best you can do for scaring them away but you need to do that over a very long time.

"Last week I contacted as many people as I could in NSW dealing with flying fox colonies and the best advice I received is the first method of attack should be to trim trees back."

Council staff in Albury have been tackling their bat problem by scaring them with stock whips, starter guns and audio recordings of chainsaws at 5.30am, however it was expected they will have to keep up the racket for a month.

Griffith councillors considered going as far as exterminating the local flying fox population, but their hands were tied by various state and federal government laws.

Mr Mares said the population would continue to dwindle as the flying fox pups mature and leave the region, but agreed something needed to be done now.

"Living next to a Little Red Flying Fox population is not a nice proposition at the best of times, let alone when they live right above your house," he said.

"At its height there was around 3000 animals in Kookora St, but I suspect there are around 300 now.

"The desired outcome for us is to get them to move back to the gum trees over in Ioof park."

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