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Lockyer Valley bat deaths spark call for post-mortem tests

LOCKYER Valley's mayor has called on the State Government to carry out post-mortem tests after thousands of flying foxes were killed by a heatwave last week.

Residents neighbouring a large colony in Gatton reported seeing bats being abnormally aggressive towards each other in the days leading up to the widespread deaths.

Mayor Jones hoped to rule out the possibility that the fighting was symptomatic of lyssavirus, a suspicion that has been rejected by conservation groups.

Bat Conservation and Rescue Queensland spokeswoman Pam Ison was certain the deaths were caused by the 43-degree temperatures.

She said fighting within a single colony could not account for the widespread nature of the deaths, which extended to colonies as far afield as the Sunshine Coast and northern New South Wales.

"The dead were mainly adult breeding females and their single young," Ms Ison said.

"Wildlife carers are caring for hundreds of flightless young.

"Many thousands of orphans suffered a slow death at the colony. Yet the State government proposes to very soon extend rights to councils to kill flying-foxes in urban areas as well as to farmers and landholders.

"Shooting a small body in the dark is inhumane and unnecessary. 

"Low interest loans are available to farmers for wildlife friendly netting.  

"What communities urgently need from government bodies is education about their migratory behaviour, the extremely low disease risk and replanting of tea-tree wetland habitat that until recently was theirs for 35 million years."

Topics:  bats flying foxes heatwave lockyer valley toowoomba



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