Council is seeking feedback on the location and size of any flying fox camps and any problems they are causing including noise, odour and mess.
Council is working with Hunter Councils to develop a Regional Flying Fox Camp Management Plan.
Sightings can be reported by emailing Council, in person at any Council office or by phoning 6540 1100.
For several months from late 2014, several thousand grey-headed flying-foxes took up residence in Aberdeen along a section of the Hunter River close to a camp draft area.
Council’s Director of Environment and Customer Services Mat Pringle said Council was seeking information about camps of at least several hundred establishing, not small numbers of flying-foxes in flight.
“We are working with local land owners and other Councils to find the most appropriate way to mitigate the problems the flying-foxes cause,” Mr Pringle said.
“There are a number of possible tools we can use such as revegetating and managing land to create alternative flying-fox habitat or providing signs and other information about safety guidelines around camps.
Flying foxes are a protected species in NSW under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and, in the case of the Grey-headed flying-fox, under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Flying-foxes are important because they help pollinate plants and spread seeds, making sure our native forests and bush survive. They do this over much larger distances than birds or insects. They are wild animals, with each species forming one large population that travels large distances to find food, and suitable habitat to live in.
Safety around Flying-Foxes
Horses should not graze in areas where camps are established and everyone is reminded to avoid contact with live or dead flying foxes and their droppings.
Advice from the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and Hunter New England Health (HNEH) includes:
· The major risk is Australian Bat Lyssavirus which is transmitted via bites or scratches.
· The faeces are also a risk for gastro-intestinal pathogens and good hand hygiene should be followed after being in an area contaminated by droppings.
· If bitten or scratched by a flying fox, wash the wound immediately with soap and water, apply an antiseptic such as povidone-iodine and consult a doctor.
Human infections with viruses borne by flying foxes are very rare in Australia and all cases to date have occurred in Queensland.
If you encounter an injured flying-fox call Wildlife Aid on 0429 850 089. If you find a dead flying-fox on public land contact Council on 6540 1100 to remove it.
Council cannot remove vegetation on private land in order to disperse flying foxes.
Did you know?
The grey-headed flying-fox is easily recognisable by its rusty reddish-coloured collar, grey head and hairy legs. It is a native species and under NSW law all native species are protected. The grey-headed flying-fox is also listed as vulnerable to extinction under NSW and national threatened species legislation. Records show that grey headed flying-foxes may once have numbered in the millions but have now reduced to as few as 400,000.
The little-red flying-fox is the smallest Australian flying-fox; it has reddish brown-coloured fur and is protected as it is a native species.
All flying-foxes are nocturnal. They roost during the day in camps and travel at night, up to 50 km, to feed. These communal camps may range in number from a few to hundreds of thousands of animals, with individual flying-foxes often moving between camps.
Usually, the amount of food within a 20-50 km radius of a camp site will influence the size of a camp. That's why flying-fox camps are most often temporary and seasonal because they are connected to the flowering of flying-fox food trees. However, because we can't say exactly when and where flowering and fruiting will happen there can be seasonal and yearly changes to the numbers of animals using the camps.
Upper Hunter Shire Council
02 6540 1100
Upper Hunter Shire Council is a local government authority and provides an extensive array of services including health and building; town planning; aged care; sporting and recreational facilities; roads; libraries; garbage collection; airport facilities; saleyards; public venues; water; children, youth and families and tourist information.