THE cost of dispersing a flying fox colony in Sydney is estimated at a couple of million dollars.
That’s the total figure over a number of years, including the planning expenses.
Loud industrial noise has blared out at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens in the costly exercise to drive out a colony of grey-headed and black flying foxes.
The animals are blamed for killing 28 trees and 30 palms. Another 60 trees and palms are likely to die within the next five years.
It comes at a time when Port Macquarie’s Kooloonbung Creek flying fox population is in the spotlight.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council last week adopted a Kooloonbung Creek Nature Park management plan which, among other issues, considered the flying fox population.
The plan has sparked widespread community debate and increased web traffic on the Port Macquarie News site.
The council will continue to look at the option of relocating the flying foxes and will pursue measures including a buffer zone.
The council stressed historic attempts to disperse urban flying fox colonies through Australia had either failed or proved costly.
The final result of the Royal Botanic Gardens exercise is pending. Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust wildlife management officer John Martin believes a low flying fox population within the garden and across Sydney at the time of the dispersal exercise had worked in their favour.
About 5000 flying foxes were roosting within the garden when the dispersal plan went into action a month ago.
“We understand this may not succeed and we may have to try again from scratch,” Mr Martin said.
Flying fox numbers had peaked at more than 20,000.
Authorities played industrial noise, about as loud as a household whipper snipper, for 30 minutes at sunset and 45 minutes before dawn after receiving state and federal government approvals.
“We are encouraging them to leave in the afternoon and discouraging them from roosting in the morning,” Mr Martin said.
The program has successfully complied with the conditions to relocate 90 per cent of the population for five consecutive days and is now focused on deterring the re-establishment of the colony.
Attempts to deter new arrivals are likely to continue for an extended period.