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Flying-foxes in Eurobodalla

Latest news

January 2019: Flying-foxes currently occupy two separate camps in Eurobodalla.

Catalina camp has seen fluctuations in numbers with a steady increase since November and the first half of December 2018. Numbers dropped significantly around Christmas time. This drop in numbers coincided with a camp being established at a known historical site in Moruya Heads.

Regular monitoring of both camps continues and we ask that the community help by reporting new daytime sightings of any camps to Council.

Flying-Fox Management Plan

On 27 November 2018, councillors adopted a shire-wide Flying-Fox Management Plan. The plan will provide some level of certainty to the community as to how current and future camps are likely to be managed. It is also important to recognise that it is extremely challenging to manage wildlife, where the number and location of the flying-foxes is unpredictable.

There are stringent requirements with any actions that Council may undertake such as dispersal or vegetation removal. Council must also consider social, environmental and financial factors, and the focus of any management action is on Council-managed lands.

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:

  • developed 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.

Tree removal

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.

Community education

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.

Flying-fox monitoring

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

2018/19 season - a small number of flying-foxes remained at the Catalina camp over the winter season with their numbers steadily increasing since October. The Batemans Bay Water Gardens is unoccupied as of early December 2018 and early morning monitoring continues there.

2017/18 season - 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 to the Water Gardens in mid-December. Numbers fluctuated in both camps since then reaching up to 4,000 between the two camps in March/April 2018, before decreasing steadily to a few hundred individuals over winter.

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, the extent of the camps in May 2018 and the latest extent of the camp in December 2018.

Click for larger images

A map showing the extent of the flying fox camps at their peak in April 2016

The extent of flying-fox camps at their peak in April 2016

A map showing the extent of the flying fox camps in May 2018

The extent of flying-fox camps in May 2018

Extent of flying fox camps in December 2018

The extent of flying-fox camps in December 2018

Flying-fox activity in Eurobodalla Shire has been monitored regularly since their arrival for the 2017-2018 season, with weekly monitoring reports sent 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 from February 2018 to January 2019:

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):

Aerial view of the Water Gardens - Dec 2016 Rehabilitation works at the Water Gardens Rehabilitation works at the Water Gardens Rehabilitation works at the Water GardensRehabilitation works at the Water Gardens

Get the facts

Download our fact sheets:

More information

If you would like to find out more:

A pair of grey headed flying foxes, Photograph by Beth Noël, EcoLogical Australia

Photograph by Beth Noël, EcoLogical Australia