Flying-foxes - An Overview
Flying-foxes and humans are increasingly coming into contact, likely due to loss of natural habitats, urbanisation and responses to food availability.
Flying-foxes are known to camp in all sorts of places, and practically all urban and peri-urban areas contain potential flying-fox camp sites.
Because of increasing impacts on residents’ quality of life, councils are planning for greater flying-fox management responsibilities, even if they’ve not had them before.
Health risks are very low and may only arise if you are bitten or scratched by a flying-fox. A useful health outline is published on the Little Aussie Battlers website, produced by the Hunter Joint Organisation of councils. The website also has many other flying-fox resources for councils.
As with many local issues that can become controversial, councils navigate a very wide range of opinions and feelings. The impacts of flying-fox noise, smell and droppings can lead to serious quality of life degradation.
Flying-foxes spread pollen and seeds for native plants over large areas. Without them, the Australian bush and hardwood industry could collapse. Flying-foxes are called a ‘keystone’ species, vital for over 50 native tree types and hundreds of other plants. In today’s reduced and fragmented native landscapes, flying-foxes are especially important for Australian plants’ survival.
The increasing urbanisation of flying-foxes can lead people to think the animal population is increasing. There is no evidence of this.
Managing local community needs within the legal conservation framework is a challenge increasingly faced by councils.