The town of of Batemans Bay, in New South Wales, Australia, is nearing a state of emergency, but not for fear of severe weather conditions or natural disaster.
A swarm of over 100,000 bats have descended on the coastal town, wreaking havoc and causing many residents to feel like they are “prisoners in their own homes”, according to New South Wales Environment Minister, Mark Speakman (ABC News).
The animals, which dramatically outnumber the area’s human population of 11,000, are disturbing residents with their high pitched screeching.
One inhabitant complained: “The bats came and they are just out of control. We just can’t do anything because of them.” (Sky News Australia)
Despite the nuisance caused by the creatures, authorities are not permitted to use any methods that may harm the bats in order to disperse them, owing to their protected status.
Instead, local government has invested AUS$2.5 million in alternative, non-lethal remedies.
The current method involves playing “extremely loud industrial noise”, blowing smoke and shining bright lights on the bats; a technique which the mayor of Batemans Bay, Lindsay Brown, says is slowly working.