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Draft flying fox management plan on public exhibition

Eurobodalla Council is seeking feedback on its draft Eurobodalla Flying Fox Management Plan.

The plan provides a framework of options for Council to reduce impacts of roosting flying-foxes on people in Eurobodalla while conserving the species. It was prepared by consultants with experience in flying-fox management and community engagement.

The plan notes flying foxes will continue to return to the area and that favourable habitat and food resources across the shire mean camps could establish in new locations, including urban areas.

A primary focus of the plan is minimising impacts of flying-foxes on people within 300m of camps. Council would provide a supporting role to the broader community impacted by roosting and foraging flying-foxes.

Photo Ecosure Grey Headed Flying Fox group in a tree with wings open

The draft Plan shows how community input helped identify triggers for management options depending on the level of impact.

Management options range from monitoring and education and awareness programs to subsidies for things like pressure cleaning, car covers, clothes line covers and Cocos palm removal. Removing vegetation to provide a buffer zone between roosting flying foxes and residents or businesses might be an option in some circumstances, and in extreme circumstances, dispersal would be considered on council-managed land. All management activities would be in accordance with animal welfare and legislative requirements.

Council’s Divisional Manager Environmental Services Deb Lenson said that a recent study of 310 national camps found 72 per cent were in urban areas.

“This issue poses ongoing impacts on urban communities throughout Australia,” she said.

“Managing wildlife in a changing environment is complex and unfortunately unpredictable. The number, location and impacts of flying foxes are unknown and we have tried to help the Eurobodalla community become more resilient and prepared for future influxes.

“The draft plan aims to help us better manage this complex issue by providing Council with a framework of staged management and mitigation options, giving residents some certainty as to how current and future camps are likely to be managed.”

If the draft plan is approved, Council would continue to seek advice from the NSW and Australian governments and flying-fox experts across the country, as well as be involved in research.

The community can view the draft Eurobodalla Flying Fox Management Plan on Council’s website or in hard copy at Eurobodalla libraries, the Batemans Bay Community Centre and the Customer Service Centre in Moruya. Submissions close Wednesday 31 October.

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