Neighbour not batting an eyelid over flying foxes
BORN and raised Casino local Paul Mackay isn't too worried by the massive colony of flying foxes camping next door to his home.
Standing on Mr Mackay's veranda and looking over the Richmond River, thousands upon thousands of bats cluster together in knots.
The sweet, dank smell of bat droppings lingers in the air, and Mr Mackay's driveway is dotted with dried poo.
"I used to hate them; but it's like living next to a highway, you get used to 'em; then you don't really notice them," Mr Mackay said.
"And I understand how important they are to the environment with their pollination abilities.
"The only think I don't like is I can't go down the river and have a swim."
But many people in Casino are sick of the bats.
They arrived in mid-January, and still show no signs of leaving.
Bundled up like ropes in the tree tops, they cover literally every inch of many branches, and are living in the treetops near the playground of the local school.
It's no surprise their combined weight will occasionally bring a branch crashing down.
Spurred on by a stream of complaints from residents, Richmond Valley Council general manager John Walker has called this week for less red tape on the "removal and culling" of bats.
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis has also called for action, likening the riverbank to "a scene from a Harry Potter movie, except that the feces and pungent odour are real".
But even though he's literally living with them, Mr Mackay is more mellow.
"The bottom line is even if we get permission to something about it, there's nothing you can do... they'll just go when they're ready," he said. "You've just got to put up with them."
"And it's quite a sight... when they're all taking off."
"You don't see things like this too often... we should just leave 'em be and wait until they go on their own."