Going into bat for the flying-fox

The Kyogle flying-fox camp has a long history of occupation – it has been in the same location for over 50 years. Kyogle Council recognises the cultural and ecological importance of Kyogle’s flying-foxes but also understands the needs and concerns of the Kyogle community.

The Kyogle flying-fox camp has been the cause of conflict between residents, site users and the flying-foxes. This is primarily as a result of its location within the vicinity of the Kyogle Gardens Caravan Park, the Kyogle Showground, the Kyogle Recreation Reserve and some residential homes.

The Kyogle Flying-fox Camp Management Plan was adopted by Kyogle Council in July 2022. The Plan was prepared to guide future management of the flying-fox camp with the aim of reducing conflict between humans and the flying-foxes.


Why are flying-foxes under threat?

As a result of loss of habitat and removal of native vegetation, flying-foxes are resorting to foraging in more urbanised areas which puts them under threat from a number of human influences:
• Netting – While netting is an effective way of protecting fruit trees and orchards, it can be a deadly entanglement hazard for flying-foxes and other wildlife and birds.
Solution: Only use wildlife-friendly netting (with a mesh size of less than 5mm) to protect your garden and regularly check the netting to ensure no wildlife has become trapped or injured.
• Barbed wire – While barbed wire is an effective means of containing livestock, entanglement is one of the main causes of flying-fox injuries and deaths each year.
Solution: Consider plain wire fencing where possible and, in areas where there have been frequent entanglements, cover the barbs or make the fence more visible with tapes or banners.
• Electrocution – Electrocution on powerlines is another threat to flying-foxes, however, this threat is hard to mitigate.

Apart from the above human influences, extreme heat events can cause heat stress in flying-fox camps, in some case leading to mass deaths.
Solution: Don’t approach or enter flying-fox camps during periods of extreme heat. This can disturb flying-foxes trying to cope with the heat and cause them to become more distressed and take flight which can weaken them further.

Both natural and non-natural causes can result in flying-fox injury or death. Understanding these causes helps to inform conservation priorities and strategies for flying-foxes.

What should I do if I find an injured flying-fox?

If you find an injured flying-fox, do not approach it or try and handle it. Instead, you should report it to the WIRES Wildlife Rescue (https://www.wires.org.au/) or to Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers Inc. (https://www.wildlifecarers.com/).

What should I do if I find a dead flying-fox?

Dispose of dead flying-foxes using protective gloves and a shovel. It is advised to wrap the carcass in two plastic bags before disposing of it in your landfill bin or bury the carcass to a depth of 15cm to avoid scavengers.

How is Council engaging with the community on flying-fox management?

Council has actively engaged with residents through community surveys, webinar information sessions and consultation events in an effort to understand and address the community’s concerns about the Kyogle Flying-fox Camp, raise awareness and seek feedback about future management options.

Kyogle Council’s Flying-Fox Camp Management Plan has been developed to guide future management of the flying-fox camp with the aim of reducing conflict between humans and the flying-foxes. Council is currently implementing a number of actions in this Plan including:

• The Flying-fox Habitat Enhancement Project which aims to rehabilitate and revegetate land at the northern end of the Kyogle Recreation Reserve in an effort to encourage the flying-foxes to roost further away from areas where they may come into conflict with humans. The proposed habitat area has been subject to past flying-fox usage and contains remnant vegetation and geographical features similar to the current primary roost.
• Removal of vegetation and overhanging branches around the Kyogle Gardens Caravan Park and tennis courts to create a buffer zone between the camp and users of these facilities.
• Developing a Works Protocol to ensure that any works occurring in the vicinity of the camp is done sensitively to minimise impacts to flying-foxes and surrounding residents.
• Developing procedures to manage extreme weather events that impact flying-foxes.

Keep an eye on the ‘What’s On’ page for information on upcoming flying-fox community consultation sessions, workshops, events and tree planting days.

Going into bat for the flying-fox
Kyogle Flying-fox Camp Management Plan
NSW Department of Planning & Environment
WIRES Wildlife Rescue
Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers Inc.
Australasian Bat Society