Friends of flying-foxes

Flying-foxes are essential to the health and regeneration of our native forests. Unlike other pollinators such as bees and birds, flying-foxes can transport pollen and disperse seeds over huge distances. Their ecological importance cannot be disregarded. This is why we need to build our understanding and foster compassion and respect for these ‘gardeners of the sky’.

Flying-foxes are increasingly moving into more urban areas. This is likely the result of food scarcity, predators, changes in environmental conditions (drought or floods), or habitat clearance for housing developments, agriculture or forestry.

The urbanisation of flying-foxes has increased their contact with humans, however, with better education and a clearer understanding of the ecological importance of flying-foxes, local communities are learning to live alongside flying-fox colonies.


What does habitat restoration mean for the flying-fox?

Restoring and replanting flying-fox habitat – planting the right trees, in the right places, in the right regions – helps to address the gaps in native food availability and provide ongoing nectar supplies year-round.

Kyogle Council’s Flying-fox Camp Management Plan is helping to guide rehabilitation and revegetation works for the flying-fox habitat enhancement and creation project. This eight-year project will see 4.7ha of flying-fox habitat restored at the northern end of the Kyogle Recreation Reserve with funding through the Environmental Trust, in association with LGNSW, and Kyogle Council. This habitat restoration project is being undertaken in an effort to encourage the flying-foxes to roost further away from areas where they may come into conflict with humans. Flying-foxes have roosted in this area in the past.

Kyogle Council, in collaboration with Kyogle Landcare, undertake vegetation regeneration and tree planting along Fawcetts Creek in the Kyogle Recreation Reserve each year. If you are interested in helping with habitat restoration in the local area, contact Council for more information or keep an eye on the ‘What’s On’ page for information on upcoming tree planting days.

How are flying-fox populations monitored?

Monitoring flying-fox camps and population numbers helps us to better respond to impacts on both flying-foxes and address their impacts on communities.

The National Flying-fox Monitoring Program (NFFMP) began in 2013 and is a collaborative project between federal and state governments and the CSIRO. The aim of the program was to establish a reliable benchmark for the size of flying-fox populations in 2013 and to monitor population trends in later years by undertaking quarterly counts at all known camps of Grey-headed and Spectacled Flying-foxes. The NPWS are responsible for undertaking the flying-fox counts at the Kyogle camp.

What is the role of wildlife carers?

Wildlife carers do an exceptional job of caring for sick and injured flying-foxes with many injuries caused by human-induced threats such as entanglement in netting or barbed wire. Wildlife carers are specially trained to handle flying-foxes, and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation providers are licensed under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 by National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

Wildlife carer records show that entanglements in barbed wire and fruit netting, hyperthermia, orphaned pups and electrocutions on powerlines were leading causes of flying-fox injuries. This study also found that the large majority of recorded flying-fox rescues in NSW were the Grey-headed Flying-fox, a species vulnerable to extinction.

Can I make a donation to help care for flying-foxes?

You can help wildlife carers by donating food (an adult flying-fox may eat as much as 500g of fruit per day), donating protein powder as a dietary supplement, or donating equipment such as fruit dicing machines, animal cages, blankets, cage liner or food and water containers.

For more information on how you can help flying-foxes’ care and rehabilitation through donations, contact WIRES Wildlife Rescue or Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers Inc.

Are there local groups involved in flying-fox conservation?

In Kyogle, there are a large number of local groups involved in the conservation and care of the region’s flying-foxes. They include NPWS Kyogle, Kyogle Council and Landcare (including Kyogle Landcare and the Border Ranges-Richmond Valley Landcare Network).

Flying-foxes need all the friends they can get!  If you would like to learn more and are keen to get involved in flying-fox conservation, please contact Council for more information.




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