Flying-foxes in Eurobodalla
May 2018: Flying-foxes are sticking to their mobile behaviours and have returned to Eurobodalla Shire.
There are known roosting camps in Catalina and the Water Gardens at Batemans Bay, Tuross Head and Narooma.
These camps are currently small and the vegetation buffers Council has created provide physical distance between the roosting flying-foxes and residents in the Batemans Bay area. Dispersal activities are not an option while there are dependent young in the camp. In previous years, young have been present until April and May.
Regular monitoring of the camps is underway and we ask that the community help by reporting new day-time sightings of camps to Council.
Council is currently working with expert consultants to develop a shire-wire Flying-fox Management Plan to provide a framework for how we can best support residents who may be impacted by flying-foxes in the future. The survey has been completed and analysis by the Centre of local government (University of Technology) is underway.
In June 2018, Council will hold targeted workshops with residents and businesses that have been impacted by flying-foxes and those who could in the future.
Tell us if you have seen new flying-fox roosts
To help us monitor flying-foxes across Eurobodalla Shire, if you see flying-foxes camping in new areas, please call our Natural Resource Officer - Flying-Foxes, Mitchell Jarvis, on 4474 1263, or use the online form below:
If you see a dead flying-fox on power lines, report it to Essential Energy on 13 20 80.
What is Council doing?
Flying-fox management actions being performed by Eurobodalla Shire Council include:
- preparing a shire-wide Eurobodalla Flying-Fox Management Plan
- continued employment of a dedicated Natural Resources Officer - Flying-Foxes to facilitate flying-fox management and engagement with the community
- providing relief to residents through subsidised services when conditions require
- undertaking flying-fox dispersal (where necessary and in accordance with approval conditions)
- participating in flying-fox monitoring and research
- maintaining buffer zones on Council land
- ongoing restoration of the Batemans Bay Water Gardens with planting of native species and weed control
- collaborating with other councils, agencies, land managers and community groups
- implementing a communication strategy based on community feedback
- community education, students and adults learning about flying-foxes and other bats.
Assistance for residents
Council provides access to high pressure washers that can be borrowed from Council's Batemans Bay Depot to clean hard surfaces, cars and homes. Residents can contact the Depot on 4472 4035 to arrange borrowing the washers.
Further assistance may be considered by Council if residents are impacted by excessive numbers of flying-foxes.
Cocos palms, which attract foraging flying-foxes, can be removed from private property without the need for Council approval.
Native plants such as lilli pillis, gum trees and banksias cannot be removed without Council approval under the Tree Preservation Code. Council will not allow the removal of native trees unless they pose a significant risk to people or infrastructure (such as falling limbs). Contact Council on 4474 1000 for further information.
- For more information on these services, phone our Natural Resource Officer - Flying-Foxes, Mitchell Jarvis on 4474 1263.
Council and WIRES volunteers are running educational programs for school children and parents on flying–foxes and other bats that live and visit Eurobodalla Shire. The programs provide information about the role that bats have in the environment, health concerns, threats to their long-term survival and where they live.
- Teachers who would like to book a session can contact our Natural Resource Officer - Flying-Foxes, Mitchell Jarvis, on 4474 1263.
Sunshine Bay Public School students (left) and Moruya Primary School students (right) participating in the flying-fox educational program.
Grey-headed flying-foxes, also called fruit bats, have always had camps in Eurobodalla Shire. Population numbers vary with seasonal migration. Any flying-foxes in the region are likely to forage around residential areas at night wherever there are food sources, regardless of where they have day-time camps.
The CSIRO has developed a methodology to measure national flying-fox populations:
The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage regularly monitored the camp areas at Batemans Bay after the massive influx of flying-foxes in 2016, up until dispersal activities finished at the end of July 2016. Council now performs this task, assessing the location and size of camps, flying-fox behaviour, wellbeing and breeding status.
Camp sizes and location
In mid to late October 2017, flying-foxes returned in small numbers to one camp in Eurobodalla Shire at the Catalina Country Club. They also returned the Water Gardens in mid-December. Numbers have fluctuated in both camps since then reaching up to 4000 between the two camps. It is unlikely that numbers will reach the levels we experienced during the first half of 2016.
The maps below show the extent of the flying-fox camps at their peak in April 2016 when prolific spotted gum flowering brought unprecedented numbers to the region, and the extent of the camps in May 2018.
Click for larger images
The extent of flying-fox camps at their peak in April 2016
The extent of flying-fox camps in May 2018
Flying-fox activity in Eurobodalla Shire has been monitored regularly since their arrival for the 2017-2018 season, with 35 monitoring reports sent between 17 October 2017 and 6 July 2018 to the Office of Environment and Heritage.
During the monitoring, Council officers assess the population, camp footprint, distance to nearby residents, presence of dependent young and overall health of the flying-foxes. In addition, we monitor the community's concerns and offer advice and assistance where we can.
The graph below indicates camp populations during the 2017-2018 season.
Water Gardens restoration
Vegetation in and around the Water Gardens in Batemans Bay was cleared as part of extending buffer zones between residences, businesses and flying-fox habitat in 2016.
Unfortunately, some people are using the Water Gardens to dispose of rubbish or dump shopping trolleys. Our Rangers issue fines for littering, so if you see somebody doing the wrong thing, please report it to Council immediately on 4474 1000.
The Australian Government provided a Green Army team to help out in the Water Gardens. The team completed their work program in September 2017. The team removed weeds and rubbish, laid mulch and planted native shrubs and grasses. The Green Army also installed wildlife cameras to monitor native and feral animals, and mounted nest boxes in the tree canopy for birds and gliders.
View photos of the restoration of the Water Gardens (click for larger images):
Get the facts
- Read answers to frequently asked questions about flying-foxes
- Find out more about the grey-headed flying-fox species.
Download our fact sheets:
- Contact our Natural Resource Officer - Flying-Foxes if you would like a presentation about flying-foxes.
If you would like to find out more:
- contact Council's Natural Resource Officer - Flying-Foxes, Mitchell Jarvis, on 4474 1263 or email Mitchell.Jarvis@esc.nsw.gov.au
- phone Lorraine Oliver from the Office of Environment and Heritage on 02 6229 7120, or visit the Office of Environment and Heritage website.
Photograph by Beth Noël, EcoLogical Australia