The Isis Golf Club on the outskirts of Childers is known for its beautifully green fairways lined with historic trees, but it’s also home to tens of thousands of flying foxes.

Golfers are growing increasingly concerned for their safety with an estimated 60,000 flying foxes taking up residence on the course.

“As you hit your golf ball, they fly over your head and drop feces on your buggy and on you,” said committee member Kerry Schnack.

Golfer Kerry Schnack said flying foxes pose a risk to players.(ABC Wide Bay: Johanna Marie)

She said membership had dropped from 130 to 82 members this year over fears that someone would be hurt by falling branches damaged by animals.

“They’ve thinned out all the trees, they’ve knocked over branches, we have widowmakers hanging from them, which is a major concern.”

The roost settled on the golf course about 10 years ago after being moved from a neighboring property and Ms Schnack said numbers have increased in recent years.

Protected species

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment and Science said complaints that the golf club had tried to move people without permission were being investigated.

“Flying foxes play a vital role in seed dispersal and pollination of flowering plants and are essential to maintaining the health of native forests,” the spokesperson said.

“They are protected animals under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and it is an offense to deliberately take, harm or interfere with roosts.”

bat branches
The Department of the Environment is investigating allegations that the golf club attempted to move the roost without permission.

Ms Schnack said the golf course was run by a committee of volunteers who could not afford the cost of the permit and consultants had to move the bats.

“It costs many, many thousands, even hundreds of thousands.

“We don’t want to give up, because we don’t want to see our course closed, which is heading in that direction.”

Flying foxes hanging upside down in a tree.
Flying foxes are protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.(ABC Wide Bay: Johanna Marie)

Desperate need for help

The DES spokesperson said the Bundaberg Regional Council had “full authority” to manage flying fox roosts in urban flying fox management areas.

The Department said the council had non-lethal management options including water sprinklers, floodlights or tree pruning to create a buffer zone between flying foxes and sensitive sites.

“Hopefully they can move the bats and everyone will be happy,” Ms. Schnack said.

“There are so many bushes around, so why can’t they move it somewhere else?”

Bundaberg Regional Council has been contacted for comments.