An Australian coastal town is on the verge of a "state of emergency" as it is overrun by more than 100,000 bats. Authorities in Batemans Bay in New South Wales are struggling to deal with the mass influx of the swarming mammals.
The bat species, known as grey-headed flying foxes, is in the town located in the south of Sydney; they are to be found on almost every surface and tree in the vicinity. Inhabitants have complained about unbearable odour and noise produced by these creatures.
"I can't open the windows, I can't use the clotheslines, it's just, I can't study because the noise just goes constantly. I can't concentrate. It's not fun," a local resident, Danielle Smith, told the Sky News Australia. "The bats came and they are just out of control. We just can't do anything because of them."
The NSW state government has promised to dispatch about $1.8m (£1.23) to deal with the situation. In addition, this particular species has been declared vulnerable and hence the authorities cannot use lethal techniques to disperse them. Smoke, noise, and clearing vegetation are being considered as options to remove the animals. Officials have already begun chopping down trees in the area.
"This is the biggest, this is unprecedented, they've never been seen in these numbers," said Russell Schneider of the Flying Fox Task Force. However, animal rights groups have called for patience in the community so as to not harm the animals and allow them to move on.
"Independent scientific reports have indicated that in fact the dispersal is high-risk and really won't work. We have to wait for the bats to move on and they will," Glenys Oogjes of the Animals Australia was quoted as saying.