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$30,000 to help manage flying fox colonies in Byron Shire

Byron Shire Council has received a $15,000 NSW Government grant to help manage flying foxes in Byron Shire, Mayor Simon Richardson announced today.

The NSW Government Flying Fox Grant Program is established to help councils manage flying-fox camps in their areas, consistent with the Office of Environment and Heritage’s Flying-Fox Camp Management Policy 2015.

As part of the Funding Agreement, Council committed matching funds, or in-kind contributions, on a 1:1 basis to prepare the Byron Shire Flying Fox Camp Management Plan which will address the impact of flying fox colonies located in Mullumbimby, Bangalow, Byron Bay and Suffolk Park.

Supported by GeoLINK, a local environmental and engineer consultancy, the plan of management will be developed in conjunction with the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and local communities and will  take into consideration the protected status of the flying foxes.

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

“This funding will ensure we identify measures to manage the land and improve the amenity of local areas for local communities,” Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson said.

“We want to work with people affected by the impact of flying-foxes, as well as educate the public about the important role these animals play in maintaining the natural environment around the Shire.

“Records show that the Grey-headed flying-fox may once have numbered in the millions but there are now as few as 400,000 nationally. Flying foxes provide important ecological services, pollinating and spreading seed of native flora, including endangered plant species and communities,” he said.

Residents across Byron Shire will soon have their say on how to deal with flying fox camps in Mullumbimby, Bangalow, Byron Bay and Suffolk Park via community meetings to be announced shortly.  

These community meetings are an opportunity for residence to inform the plan of management.

For more information residents are encouraged to contact Council's Biodiversity Officer on 02 6626 7324.

Safety Around Flying-Foxes

Advice from the OEH and North Coast Area Health includes:

  • The major risk is Australian Bat Lyssavirus, which is transmitted via bites or scratches.
  • The faeces are also a risk for gastro-intestinal pathogens and good hand hygiene should be followed after being in an area contaminated by droppings.
  • If bitten or scratched by a flying fox, wash the wound immediately with soap and water, apply an antiseptic such as povidone-iodine and consult a doctor.

If you encounter an injured flying-fox call WIRES on 6628 1898.

Did you know?

The Grey-headed flying-fox is easily recognisable by its rusty reddish-coloured collar, grey head and hairy legs. It is a native species and under NSW law, all native species are protected. 

All flying-foxes are nocturnal. They roost during the day in camps and travel at night, up to 50 kilometres, to feed. These communal camps may range in number from a few to hundreds of thousands of animals, with individual flying-foxes often moving between camps.

Usually, the amount of food within a 20-50 km radius of a camp site will influence the size of a camp. That's why flying-fox camps are most often temporary and seasonal because they are connected to the flowering of flying-fox food trees. However, because we can't say exactly when and where flowering and fruiting will happen there can be seasonal and yearly changes to the numbers of animals using individual camps.

Media contact:

Media Communication Officer
Byron Shire Council
Ph: 02 6626 7320

Byron Shire is located at Australia's eastern-most point with a population of almost 29,000. It is a thriving community where residents and visitors live, work and play in a sustainable environment and where Council strives to deliver the highest standard of local government services and infrastructure.