A management plan for the flying-fox camp at Black Gully was adopted by Council at the Ordinary Council Meeting held on Wednesday 25 July 2018, which will allow Council to take actions to reduce the impact on residents if flying foxes return.
The Draft Black Gully Flying Fox Camp Management Plan was earlier endorsed for Public Exhibition by Council 26 April 2018. Council in partnership with the consultants conducted an onsite engagement session and online survey for residents to provide feedback. 44 submissions were also received and sent to the consultant Ecosure for consideration when redrafting the plan.
Management advice of the flying fox camp came from the consultant and the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH). The camp is to be managed in situ and a staged approach undertaken to reduce the risk of dispersal of the bats into the wider urban area.
Approximately 60 percent of submissions were in favour of relocating flying-foxes from Black Gully, or stopping flying foxes from living in the urban area. Dispersal of the flying foxes are rarely successful, very expensive and do not reduce the number of flying foxes within urban areas. OEH has indicated that passive or active dispersal should not be undertaken until level 1 – routine camp management and level 2 creation of a buffer has been undertaken, and only if these actions fail to adequately mitigate the impact of flying foxes on the community.
Council has no plans to attempt to move the flying fox camp if the bats return as dispersal actions could cause conflict to more residents and Council does not have approval to do so.
To assist residents who have already liaised with Council to identify trees for removal on their property, Council will be waiving the $125 Tree Removal Fee and has set aside a subsidy and camp management fund of up to $50k in total. The subsidy offered to affected residents will be based on a percentage of tree removals costs.
Council will also undertake vegetation management in Black Gully to assist with the creation of a 15 metre buffer. If the flying foxes do return Council will continue to assist residents with clean-up of properties and the supply of tarps if required.
The final Camp Management Plan together with a Threatened Species licence application under Part 2 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 to enable management actions to be undertaken is still to be approved. It is anticipated that OEH will provide consent for the actions outlined in the management plan in early August enabling Council and residents to commence buffer works.
Black Gully Flying Fox Camp Management Plan (PDF 11.8MB)
Black Gully Vegetation Management Plan (PDF 8.3MB)
The Grey Headed Flying Fox is listed as a vulnerable species across Australia. Prior approval is required from the State Government to disturb or relocate a grey headed flying fox camp or modify its habitat. When flying-foxes are in the latter stages of their breeding cycle with females either heavily pregnant and/or having small dependent infants or creche young, advice from the Office and Environment and Heritage is that there be no direct intervention between the months of October through to March. Direct disturbances may cause the flying foxes to terminate their pregnancies, drop dependent infants, or refuse to settle and feed their crèche young.
The current best advice from the Office of Environment and Heritage is not to disturb the animals.
Flying foxes pose no public health risk unless you are bitten or scratched
The risk of them transmitting disease to humans is very low
Do not disturb colonies and do not handle the animals. Flying foxes are quieter if left alone
If you find an injured animal report it to the local wildlife carers or WIRES group
Remove any pet food and drink sources from beneath trees where flying foxes are roosting
Bats are not to be touched, the bats will get hurt if they are touched by someone other than a wildlife carer trained in care of bats and immunised.
If dead bats are found, keep pets & children away, only use a shovel or steel gloves to move the bat for disposal
If a bite or scratch occurs, wash wounds well, seek medical help asap. Medical help will likely involve a series of injections, including at the wound site.
Bats, like other animals, carry other germs. Wash hands after handling bat faeces or urine.
Flying foxes are highly intelligent animals and part of a complex natural system. They are important pollinators of natural forest trees and have increasingly moved into urban areas due to the loss of roosting and foraging habitat. If there are visiting colonies near your house, it is more than likely that they will not stay very long and move on.
For more information see the following links:
Watch the flying fox information session here
Download our fact sheets here (PDF 3.4MB)
Do you have distressed or dead bats in your yard? (PDF 1.4MB)