Funds for flying fox management

Published on 07 July 2020

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MidCoast Council has received funding to complete a management plan for flying fox camps at Forster’s Karloo Street and Cocos Crescent reserves.

A grant of $10,000 thanks to the NSW Flying Fox Grants Program will be matched by funds from Council’s environmental rate, and will be used to engage the services of a flying fox specialist to provide technical input into the development of the camp management plan.

“The project will also involve engaging local community members in developing strategies to manage impacts of nearby flying fox camps,” said Council’s Manager of Natural Systems, Gerard Tuckerman.

The grey-headed flying fox is a listed as vulnerable to extinction under both State and Federal legislation. Its conservation status is not based on the numbers of animals currently in existence, but on the rapid rate of decline in numbers over a relatively short period. 

It is estimated that the national population has declined by up to 30% due to ongoing loss of their habitat because of urban development in the coastal zone.  This has led to flying foxes seeking alternative habitat such as patches of bushland in urban areas, which brings them increasingly into conflict with their human neighbours.  

As flying foxes are keystone pollinators of over 50 native trees and critical to the survival of our eucalypt forests, we urgently need to find ways to co-exist with this incredibly important native species.

The Karloo Street and Cocos Crescent Reserves are home to the second largest flying fox population across the MidCoast, second only to the camp at Wingham Brush.  While camp numbers are usually below 10,000, a number of influxes have occurred over the years, the largest being 125,000 recorded in 2013.

“It is these influxes that cause the most community concern and the proposed management plan will investigate options to alleviate the impacts of the camps on neighbouring residents in a manner that does not detract from the ecological needs and welfare of the flying-fox,” added Mr Tuckerman.

The influxes also complicated Council’s initial work in preparing a management plan for the original camp at Karloo Street, however previous work undertaken will contribute to the new management plan.