300,000-strong swarm of bats force Queensland town to ‘crisis point’ – as rescue chopper can’t land because of the animals and parents threaten to boycott school
- A mayor has warned the town of Ingham is under serious threat from fruit bats
- Swarming bats saw choppers unable to land at Ingham hospital on Thursday
- Bats have roosted in the trees of a local school as they outgrow their habitat
A Queensland town has been swarmed by 300,000 bats that have left a medical helicopter unable to reach a hospital.
Hinchinbrook Shire Council mayor Ramon Jayo said the town of Ingham in north west Queensland was reaching a ‘crisis point’ as the number of bats continued to grow.
Mr Jayo told the ABC the fruit bat population had destroyed all their traditional roosting spots and were expanding into sensitive areas.
‘Where they want to go is basically beside all our critical areas – that includes the schools, the hospital, our kindergartens, our preschools,’ he said.
Footage taken on Thursday showed thousands of bats blanketing the sky as a medical helicopter was unable to land on Ingham hospital.
‘It’s a life or death situation — minutes wasted trying to land and minutes wasted going out to the airport,’ Mr Jayo said.
As the bats continued to expand, Ingham State School also found itself the new nesting place for the nocturnal animals.
The Queensland town of Ingham has been swarmed by 300,000 bats that have left a medical helicopter unable to reach a hospital
Footage taken on Thursday showed thousands of bats blanketing the sky as a medical helicopter was unable to land on Ingham hospital
Acting principal Kevin Barnes said the bats had been roosting behind their school fence and in overhanging trees.
He said parents are now threatening to boycott the school due to safety concerns.
‘They’re very worried and informing me of their concerns and fears from their children being in school grounds … as to what diseases might be possible,’ he said.
Amanda Wright from North Queensland Wildlife Care said a heatwave across the region had killed hundreds of bats in a single weekend
Fruit bats are known to carry diseases such as the Australian Bat Lyssavirus and the Hendra virus but the chances of infection are rare.
Amanda Wright from North Queensland Wildlife Care said a heatwave across the region had killed hundreds of bats in a single weekend.
She added the bat problem would end in April when around half of the bats would migrate out of the region.