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Reports say no fewer than 200,000 flying foxes, the world’s largest bats, have overrun the Charters Towers’ residents since Friday.

A resident known as Elizabeth Schmidt told DPA that: “It’s an absolute disaster – what we have is a nightmare.

“We have had flying fox problems but never in such huge numbers.”

The local council has already shut down two public parks, a swimming pool run by the council and other public spaces.

Frustrated residents took to the streets over the weekend in a march against the town’s council, saying the problem had reached “a tipping point” and calling for action over the “plague of terror.”

The former gold mining town has housed a massive bat colony because of the region’s abundance of native flowering eucalypts, but residents said they are now being held hostage.

Snow Hearne, a local resident for the past seven years, said bats have been a nuisance, but things have escalated “to an extent where nobody can go outside their houses.”

Flying foxes are crucial for the keeping native forests healthy and play an important role in pollinating plants and flowers as well as dispersing seeds over distances.

The animals also can host the Hendra and Lyssa viruses, which can be fatal to humans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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