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Flying fox management plan

Project: Developing a shire-wide flying fox management plan to set out how Council will make future decisions about the managing impacts of flying foxes in the short and longer term.

Details

We’re developing a shire-wide management plan for flying foxes and we’re encouraging everyone to get involved.

The plan will allow us to more readily respond and help residents who may be impacted by flying foxes in the future, while conserving the threatened species and their local habitats.

While we don’t expect to see a repeat of the 2016 numbers in Batemans Bay in the near future, it is possible new camps could establish throughout Eurobodalla due to our favourable habitat and food resources.

In short, flying foxes can and may have impacts anywhere in the Eurobodalla, and we want to be prepared.

Why we need a management plan

Flying foxes are critical to the long-term survival of many Australian ecosystems as they spread seeds and pollen over long distances. Their movement across Australia’s east coast is changing because of habitat loss and food shortages, and they are increasingly establishing camps near people as they search for food and shelter. The grey-headed flying fox population is declining and the species is protected under NSW and Australian law.

Residents have told us in the past that living near a large number of flying foxes is difficult as they can be noisy, smelly and damage property. The Flying Fox Management Plan will set out how we will make future decisions about managing impacts, both in the short and longer term. It will specifically set out at what point Council may take action and what this action may look like.

What we can’t do

Managing flying fox impacts is subject to animal welfare, legal and ecological constraints. It is important that individuals do not intentionally disturb a flying fox camp as this can potentially increase the noise and smell dramatically without actually moving them on. Any dispersal activities are under strict NSW and Australian Government approvals and must consider the welfare of the animals.

It is also not appropriate or possible to remove all of the flowering and fruiting trees that attract them across the shire.

Community engagement

We help 12 drop-in sessions throughout April for community members to share their concerns, experiences, and values in regards to flying foxes.

Residents were also invited to complete an online survey during April to tell us what management actions the community believe are most appropriate for our area and at what point we should carry them out.

What’s next

We’ll be holding targeted workshops in June where selected residents, government regulators, other councils and experts in flying-fox management will be invited to expand their thoughts and experiences.

Once we have incorporated all the feedback received into a draft plan it will be presented to councillors before being placed on public exhibition for community comment during July.

Feedback received from the community during the public exhibition period will be incorporated into the final management plan, which is expected to go to councillors for final approval in September.

More information

Check out our Flying foxes in Eurobodalla webpage for more information, including the latest news, known camp sizes and location and frequently asked questions about flying foxes.