Flying foxes in urban areas is one of our more intractable problems where the need to protect native wildlife conflicts with liveability for local residents.
Flying foxes are protected under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992 and it is an offence to kill them or interfere with their roosts with penalties of up to one year imprisonment.
But in Mount Isa they cause a lot of heartache to residents whose gardens are littered with their droppings and who find they cannot go outdoors for almost four months of the year.
On Thursday I attended a presentation from Diversity Australia's Andrew Williams about Council's plans to deal with the problem.
Mr Williams said Mount Isa City Council's current strategy was to encourage residents to report the problem so Council can assist with trimming and other measures, though these have limited success.
In the medium term (two to 10 years) Council is looking at creating buffers through vegetation removal in problem trees and longer term Council has received a $100,000 grant to look at an alternative roost site
Mr Williams said that after conducting research they believe that the ideal longer-term site is at the Council-owned old Green Corps area adjacent to the treatment plan, because of its proximity to water and the current roosting site and its distance to populated areas.
He said it would take over 10 years to create an alternative roost by creating effluent lines and planting suitable trees.
"Once the site is established, either active relocation may occur or scout bats will locate the site and choose to roost in the areas," he said.
Council said they would call for letters from affected residents which they would forward to the Department of Environment.
Cr Kim Coghlan told the meeting she believed there should be some option to cull the flying foxes when their numbers were so great.
Council CEO David Keenan suggested they also write a letter to new environment minister Meaghan Scanlon to invite her Mount Isa to see the seriousness of the problem, a move welcomed by the meeting.