Eleventh-hour reprieve: Sydney Opera House's bats still call the harbor home

Eleventh-hour reprieve: Sydney Opera House's bats still call the harbor home

Thousands of flying foxes due to be evicted by a mechanical symphony can now roost in peace for another year
Opera House's bats
The bats will be free to hang on trees and mate after a decision to evict them was reversed.

A mechanical symphony that was planned to scare 22,000 bats away from their harbor home next to the Sydney Opera House has been cancelled and the colony has received a reprieve.

The Royal Botanical Garden and Domain trust will not schedule hourly chainsaw sounds from omnipresent speakers, as planned –- at least for another year, reports smh.com.au.

Last month, CNNGo reported on the plans to shoo the grey-headed flying foxes away from the tourist precinct.

But in an eleventh-hour reprieve, gardens director Dr. Brett Summerell has postponed the bat eviction.

"It's important we collect more information on fitting radio and satellite collars so we can reduce any potential impact on the flying foxes,” Dr. Summerell said.

The bats were blamed for the deaths of 30 palms and 28 mature trees –- and the deterioration of 300 others.

"We're working for a balanced approach to address the welfare of the flying fox population and preserve our much-valued trees," Dr. Summerell said.

The reprive will please bat advocacy groups who vented concerns to CNNGo about bats possilbe migration to Ku-ring-gai-chase National Park, in the city’s northwest.

The groups' earlier pleas to the Federal Court were dismissed and the Federal Government decision to relocate the bats was upheld.

But for another year, at least, the bat colony can roost in peace and enjoy harbor views.

The Royal Botanic Gardens

Royal Botanic Gardens, Mrs Macquaries Road, Sydney, +61 (0)2 9231 8111 or weekends +61 (0)2 9231 8125, www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au

The Garden is open daily, and entry is free -- except for the Tropical Centre (open daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m.)