Shoalhaven flying-foxes

Shoalhaven City Council works closely with local and national experts to develop a best practice flying-fox management approach to balance the conservation of these important native animals and the surroundings (amenity) of residents, businesses and visitors.

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What to do if you find a flying-fox on the ground:

A threatened animal species

Grey-headed flying-foxes are protected and listed as a threatened species under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and the Environment Protection and Conservation Act 1999.

As at 2020 there are only approximately 500,000 individuals left in the wild.


Why flying-foxes are important to the environment

Flying-foxes (also called fruit bats) play an important role as seed spreaders locally and over great distances. They also pollinate flowering forest plants and are crucial to keeping native forests healthy.

Our native forests provide valuable timber, act as carbon sinks, stabilise river systems and water catchments, and provide recreational and tourism opportunities worth millions of dollars each year.

Seed spreaders & forest pollinators

Highly mobile, flying-foxes spread seeds locally and over great distances, expanding the gene pool within forests.

Seeds germinating away from their parent plant have a greater chance of surviving to maturity. Mature trees share their genes with same species neighbouring trees, this transfer strengthens forests against environmental changes.

Pollen sticks to their furry bodies as they crawl from flower to flower, and fly from tree to tree, they pollinate flowers, which helps to produce honey. They are very effective forest pollinators.

Flying-fox movement across our landscape

Every year flying-foxes move from southern Queensland down the NSW east coast and inland regions into Victoria and back again.

During the day flying-foxes roost on tree branches in small and large groups called camps. At dusk they fly out in search of food. At dawn they return to their camps. Food shortages mean flying-foxes form camps closer to their food sources to conserve energy. When the local food supply runs out, or a better food source arises, the camps disperse.

Camp dispersals

It is extremely difficult and resource intensive to attempt to make flying-foxes move from one place to another less problematic site, and these attempts are never completely successful.

A 2013 review of 17 camp dispersal attempts between 1990-2013 found that in all cases, dispersed animals did not abandon the local area. This is also why Council and the State Government try to work with residents to reduce the impacts of the flying-foxes while the animals are present and then work on the sites once the flying-foxes naturally move on.

What you can do