Living with Flying Foxes
Flying-foxes are increasingly moving into urban areas in search of food and shelter, as a result of the loss of their natural habitat. This can sometimes cause problems for residents, because of concerns about flying-fox camp health and amenity impacts. Simple measures that the community can take to minimise conflict include:
- raising awareness of the mammals
- what to do and not do in maintaining cohabitation
The grey-headed flying fox is a protected native species of Australia. There is a perception shared by some that the flying-fox is a pest and a threat to biosecurity.
Tamworth Regional Council is trying to raise awareness of the mammal, by installing permanent binoculars to help understand why they are important to Australia and our natural habitat and what we can do to minimise conflict.
The flying-foxes come together during the day to roost in communal camps or colonies. There are some camps in our region which are close to residential areas.
The largest one in the local region – as of 30 May 2017 – with more than 100,000 animals is living in the Peel River Camp at Tamworth between King George V Avenue and the Peel River and a smaller camp at the junction of Goonoo Goonoo Creek and the Peel River opposite Bicentennial Park (on the western side of the river).
Management of the flying fox as a protected species requires local, state and federal agency support. Whilst longer-term strategies are needed to reduce the dependency of flying-foxes on resources in urban areas and orchards by conserving and establishing habitat elsewhere, the interim measures that can assist management of the issue are being explored.
Council has applied for funding from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and Local Government NSW (LGNSW) to assist Council in an awareness campaign to provide engaging, educational activity focused on the grey-headed flying fox.
Frequently Asked Questions
Flying-foxes are nomadic mammals that fly across eastern and northern Australia. The two species seen in the Tamworth Region in fluctuating numbers are the grey-headed flying-fox and the little-red flying-fox. The little-red are the most widespread species in Australia.
What do they eat?
Flying-foxes feed on the nectar and pollen of native blossoms and fruits such as figs. Flying-foxes are beneficial to the health of vegetation, as they spread seeds and pollinate native plants.