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Flying-foxes - North Avoca Camp

Flying-foxes - North Avoca Camp

Flying-foxes - North Avoca Camp
Consultation for this project has now concluded.

In June 2019, Council applied for funding from Local Government NSW with the aim to provide residents of North Avoca with ways to moderate the impacts of the flying-fox camp. We successfully received the funding and distributed it in the form of resources and reimbursements amongst the most-affected residents.

During this time, we engaged with residents in North Avoca who are being impacted by the flying-fox camp in a number of ways. We listened to the concerns, sought to address some of the key issues raised, and provided assistance in the form of resources and reimbursements with the funding we received from Local Government NSW.

Residents are invited to:

Project status

This project is now closed – the Engagement Consultant has now finished, and no additional funding is available.

If you have a flying-fox related enquiry, you can either call our friendly customer service team on 1300 463 954 or email Council on ask@centralcoast.nsw.gov.au.

This project has been assisted by the New South Wales Government and supported by Local Government NSW.

Why can’t the flying-foxes be moved on?

The dispersal of flying-fox camps is not supported by research and legislation and is not identified as an available management action in the Central Coast Flying-fox Management Strategy.

As the flying-foxes are a protected species, any actions undertaken that would cause them distress or harm are prohibited.

Additionally, dispersal approaches are often not successful and rarely result in desirable outcomes for all involved.

In 2013 a study was published by Billie Roberts and Peggy Eby, which looked at 17 camp dispersal attempts that took place between 1990-2013:

 

  • In all cases, dispersed animals did not abandon the local area
  • In 16 of the 17 cases, dispersals did not reduce the number of flying-foxes in a local area
  • Dispersed animals did not move far (in approx. 63% of cases the animals only moved <600m from the original site, contingent on the distribution of available vegetation). In 85% of cases, new camps were established nearby
  • In all cases, it was not possible to predict where replacement camps would form
  • Conflict was often not resolved. In 71% of cases conflict was still being reported either at the original site or within the local area years after the initial dispersal actions
  • Repeat dispersal actions were generally required (all cases except extensive vegetation removal)

Click here to read this study in full.

 

Why are flying-foxes a protected species?

Flying-foxes are the largest flying mammal in Australia. They are critical in ensuring the survival of our great Australian Eucalypt forests and the overall health of our ecosystem. They are keystone pollinators of the Australian bush, pollinating flowers of over 50 native trees. The pollen sticks to their fur while they’re feeding on the nectar of flowers, and then as they fly off, they are able to pollinate many trees over long distances.

Flying-foxes create new forests by dispersing seeds from the fruit they eat. They are vegetarians that forage on the fruit of over 50 native rainforest trees and vines. Their excellent vision and keen sense of smell helps them navigate their way over vast landscapes. Each flying-fox can spread up to 60,000 seeds across a 50 kilometre stretch of land in one night.

Flying-fox numbers have decreased dramatically over the last 50 years due to a continual loss of habitat and changing climatic patterns. Grey-headed flying-foxes – those that are found in the North Avoca camp – are now listed as vulnerable to extinction. Urban encroachment, land clearing, agriculture and drought have led to flying-foxes seeking alternative habitat such as patches of bushland in urban areas in which to roost and forage. This has brought them increasingly into conflict with their human neighbours. So now, more than ever, we need to find ways to co-exist with this incredibly important native species.

For more information on flying-foxes, visit www.littleaussiebat.com.au.

Why can’t we cut down the dead trees around the lagoon?

While the trees may be dead they are still providing a habitat to flying-foxes. As the flying-foxes are a protected species, removing these trees – their habitats – could cause them distress.

What if there are dead trees in the flying-fox camp that pose a safety risk?

If you see a tree located on Crown Land that poses a safety risk, call Crown Land 1300 886 235 and lodge this issue with them.

If you see a tree located on Council land that poses a safety risk, click here and fill in the public tree and vegetation works form. This will go into Council’s system for a tree assessment to take place.

If you are unsure if the tree is on Council land or Crown Land, simply call Council’s friendly customer service team on 1300 463 954 and they will be able to assist you with this.

I have flying-foxes in trees that border my backyard – how can I have these trees removed?

As the trees are a habitat for the flying-foxes, a protected species, the trees cannot be removed. However, if the tree poses a safety risk to human life then a tree assessment can take place.

If the tree is located on Crown Land, and it poses a safety risk, call Crown Land 1300 886 235 and lodge this issue with them.

If the tree is on Council land, and it poses a safety risk, click here and fill in the public tree and vegetation works form. This will go into Council’s system for a tree assessment to take place.

If you are unsure if the tree is on Council land or Crown Land, simply call Council’s friendly customer service team on 1300 463 954 and they will be able to assist you with this.

Do the flying-foxes pose any health risks?

Like all wild animals, flying-foxes may carry diseases, but the risk of spreading those diseases to humans is extremely low. In fact,unless you are scratched or bitten flying foxes pose no major health risks. There are a number of diseases that may be carried and transmitted by flying-foxes if you are scratched or bitten.  Any interactions you may have with flying-foxes need to be managed to ensure you do not get infected.

One of the diseases that flying-foxes do carry is The Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV), however it is only present in about 1% of the entire population, and it is not spread through droppings or urine. Although the ABLV is extremely rare (there have only ever been three reported cases in Australia) it is a deadly disease, so never touch a flying-fox unless you are trained and vaccinated against ABLV. But again, provided basic hygiene measures are taken, and you never touch a flying-fox, there is no reason for concern. For more information on ABLV click here.

There has never been a case of a human contracting Hendra virus directly from a flying-fox – all human cases have been contracted from horses that were infected by flying-foxes. For more information on the Hendra virus, click here.

What should you do if you find an injured, sick or orphaned flying-fox?

If you find an injured, sick or orphaned flying-fox, you can call your local wildlife rescue service:

  • WIRES on 1300 094737
  • Wildlife Arc on 02 4325 0666 (24-hour service)

What should you do if you see a dead flying-fox?

If you find a dead flying-fox in a public area (e.g. on a road or in a reserve), give Council’s customer service team a call on 1300 463 954 and ask them to organise for it to be disposed of.

If you find a dead flying-fox on your property and need to dispose of it, make sure you:

  • wear thick gloves (e.g. gardening gloves) and use a shovel where possible
  • wrap the carcass in at least two plastic bags before disposing of it
  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water afterwards

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