Local News

Flying fox problem to be surveyed

In recent years, flying-foxes have established temporary camps at St Andrews Reserve, Aberdeen and other locations throughout the Upper Hunter.

Aberdeen Flying foxes May 2015.JPG

Upper Hunter Shire Council has been working with Hunter Councils, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and the local community to develop a camp management plan for the Upper Hunter Shire to minimise the impacts on the community, while conserving flying-foxes in their habitat.

As part of the development of this plan Council is asking residents to complete a survey about the flying-foxes which is available on Council’s website or www.flyingfoxengage.com/Aberdeen

Council’s Director of Environmental and Customer Services Mat Pringle said Council was working closely with agencies, land managers and other stakeholders to develop the camp management plan.

“The proximity of flying-fox camps to homes, businesses, schools and equine facilities has caused concerns within the community, particularly for those directly adjacent to a camp,” Mr Pringle said.

“Council is asking the community for their views on how to manage flying-fox camps in the Upper Hunter.

“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.”

The online survey asks users to rank a series of questions from ‘not important’ to ‘extremely important’ and based on the answers, generates a tailored list of management options.

The survey also includes information about flying-fox behaviour, the complexity of each management option and the strategies under consideration.

Flying foxes are a protected species in NSW under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974and, 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.

Image supplied: ” From late 2014, several thousand flying-foxes have at times set up a camp in Aberdeen along a section of the Hunter River close to a camp draft area. Upper Hunter Shire Council installed signs in the area with information about safety precautions. Residents’ views on the flying-foxes are being sought in order to create a camp management plan for the Shire.