Wednesday, December 11, 2013

80,000 bats driven out of Australian town with water cannons, helicopters and gunfire

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Charters Towers in north Queensland on Monday to see 80,000 bats driven from the town.

The sounds of horns, helicopters, gun blasts and fireworks filled the air to try and scare away a colony of bats that have infested a local park. The council says it was forced to take the drastic action after other measures did not work. Local residents were overjoyed to see the animals go.

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"They're terrible and the smell pervades everything," one resident said. "The droppings - everywhere - you can't even park your car here for one day." Shop manager Ayla Pott says the smell of the animals drive away customers. "It stinks, it smells - some days it's that unbearable you can't open your doors," she said.

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But conservationist Priska Sussli says the removal was inhumane, because some bats were too young to fly away. "How can people do this, why?" she said. "It's just very bad timing to do this dispersal." The council will use the drastic measures every morning and night for the next 10 days and monitor the park to see if the bats come back.

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