11,000 humans, 100,000 bats: Australian town declares emergency

  • PTI, Melbourne
  • Updated: May 29, 2016 17:33 IST
The grey-headed flying fox have covered almost every surface and every tree in Batemans Bay in New South Wales. (Facebook video screengrab)

A small Australian town has declared a “state of emergency” after it was overtaken by 100,000 bats, who had set up a colony here years ago and have now outnumbered the human residents.

The grey-headed flying fox are overrunning Batemans Bay in New South Wales which has a population of over 11,000 people. They have covered almost every surface and every tree, as work has begun to eradicate them.

Australian town is in a “state of emergency” because it has been overtaken by a swarming mass of 100,000 bats, Sky news reported.

Experts believe that one in four grey-headed flying foxes that live in Australia have now made their home in the town.

“I can’t open the windows, I can’t use the clotheslines, it’s just, I can’t study because the noise just goes constantly. I can’t concentrate. It’s not fun,” Danielle Smith, who lives in the town, said.

“The bats came and they are just out of control. We just can’t do anything because of them,” she added.

Officially, the grey-headed flying foxes are listed as a vulnerable species so authorities cannot kill them.

Animal rights groups are insisting that patience is the only thing that will work, saying the bats will move on of their own accord when ready.

“This is the biggest, this is unprecedented. They’ve never been seen in these numbers,” Russell Schneider, of the Flying Fox Task Force, said.

They are considering deterring them using smoke and noise. One approach under consideration is clearing all the local vegetation and officials have already started chopping down trees.

Many of the townspeople felt “isolated, powerless, and many had become prisoners in their own homes”, a statement from the task force said.

People living in the town are desperate for a solution.

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