Learning English - Words in the News
05 March, 2008 - Published 14:59 GMT
Sydney's war on flying foxes
Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens is to wage war on grey-headed flying foxes. These super bats have invaded one of Australia's most famous public spaces. Officials have said the animals are destroying trees and have to move on. This report from Phil Mercer reports:
These unwanted guests at Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens look like tiny foxes with wings. Officials had estimated there are about 11,000 of them roosting in the picturesque harbour-side park. After inspecting damage to dozens of trees they now believe there are twice as many as previously thought. Branches have been snapping under the weight of these furry invaders and droppings have been poisoning plants.
Help may well be at hand, however, in the shape of the humble dustbin. The botanic gardens' executive director Dr. Tim Entwistle hopes the jarring sounds of crashing bin lids will agitate the flying foxes and force them to move on:
TIM ENTWISTLE: 'The way to disturb them is to use noises, so we've used banging of rubbish bins in the past. But you can also use speakers as long as you move the noise around, and what we'll do is have a series of noises, start and end of the day, do that over a couple of weeks and what we've found in the past, we actually get the flying foxes to leave the gardens and go somewhere else.'
The grey-headed flying-fox is Australia's largest bat. It cruises around at night using its eyes and a powerful sense of smell to search for fruit and flowers. Officials at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney have said they're optimistic the unwelcome colony can be uprooted. If and when the bats do move to other parts of the city they will of course then become someone else's problem.
Phil Mercer, BBC News, Sydney
Branches have been snapping
droppings have been poisoning plants
the jarring sounds
a powerful sense of smell
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