Yamba residents Jeannette James and Ken Gilbee in front of the new home of a flying fox colony.
Yamba residents Jeannette James and Ken Gilbee in front of the new home of a flying fox colony. Debrah Novak

Bats raise a stink

ANOTHER dozen residents of The Mainbrace in Yamba have contacted The Daily Examiner about their frustrations of living next door to a growing population of flying foxes.

The colony has established itself in the Reedy Creek Reserve which runs between The Mainbrace and Melaleuca Dr.

Some of the residents who contacted The Examiner accused National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of lying to The Examiner when it told the paper it had not previously heard about a flying fox colony there.

However, NPWS denied this, saying there had simply been "some confusion" over the location of the colony.

More than anything, though, the residents are angry about living next to what they consider "rodents".

Jeannette James has lived in her home for almost 25 years.

She said she had seen Reedy Creek Reserve go from being "bat-free" two years ago, to having an ever-increasing population settle in to make their home there.

"We've lived here for 24 years and we have never, ever had bats here," she said.

"The stink is so bad it wakes us at night and we can't open the windows of a day.

"I've got two dogs and I'm always cleaning bat poo off the patio because I don't want the dogs to lick it.

"We've got little grandkids that play outside here. How can you tell a two-year-old not to put their hands in their mouth?"

Mrs James said she wanted the flying foxes gone, but didn't want them becoming a problem elsewhere.

"That's not the answer - they have to be eradicated," she said.

"When we walk our dogs we are required by law to pick up their faeces but bats can poop anywhere and spread disease; and that's OK with these bat lovers who don't live near them."

Ken Gilbee is another resident who has lived in The Mainbrace for many years.

He is angry at NPWS for what he considers to be a lack of empathy. And he is worried about the health of residents.

"In the summertime, kids swim in there. Quite frankly, their health is at risk," he said.

Another resident, who did not want to be named, said he was sick of government agencies being "controlled by minority groups".

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