Maitland City Council questioned the protected status of the grey-headed flying fox and will ask the state and federal governments to determine their exact numbers.
The action was adopted at last night’s ordinary council meeting to be included in the plan of works to rid Lorn of the bats.
More immediate works will include lopping of non-habitat trees.
The amendment was successfully moved by Cr Bob Geoghegan in the hope of determining if the species was truly endangered.
“To immediately go and disperse the bats to a new area is illegal under current laws,” he said. “I would hope that further research might reveal their numbers are not that low and allow more immediate action.”
Cr Wethered spoke in support of the officer’s recommendation and the amendment.
“In my mind, we need more information wether they are grey, black, brown or purple so we can show the real impact on people in Lorn,” he said.
Cr Arch Humphery said the frustration of residents was palpable.
“If you go to Lorn and say you need to do more research, you would want to get up and run,” he said.
Cr Humphery asked the council to be prepared and apply for “all licences” to disperse the bats, but failed to garner support for fear it would jeopardise work already started.
“There is not one example where the experts have been engaged and we can say it has worked,” he said.
“The situation is thus because they didn’t apply for licences to disperse the bats because it has seemed too hard. They have tried cutting down trees and building dog houses in the air and it hasn’t worked.”