ORCHARDISTS are being warned to be vigilant after several bats were sighted in the Orange area recently.
NSW Farmers’ Association vice president, and Nashdale orchardist, Peter Darley said there had been isolated reports of flying fox sightings.
“People need to be vigilant because they may be roosting in our area,” he said.
“It’s not a good time because we’re within a week of [apple] harvesting.”
He said if the bats were to return to Orange in large numbers it would happen within the next couple of weeks.
Mr Darley said he supported the federal and state governments’ recently announced initiative to undertake a four-year bat audit, but questioned the length of time allocated to do it.
“It should have been done before now,” he said.
“It’s got a long way to go yet [but] it will at least show if they’re endangered or endemic.”
Mr Darley said the recent case of an eight-year-old boy contracting the lyssavirus from a bat reinforced how dangerous the animals could be to humans.
“It’s always been a concern that humans can contract the virus,” he said.
“It’s a major concern, they’re dangerous to people.”
Mr Darley said while it was still unclear how the boy came in contact with the bat, there was a chance he may have been attacked.
“They can be very aggressive, it’s also a possibility that he climbed a tree [to reach them].”