The summer months have seen the return of grey-headed flying-foxes to the Eurobodalla, where they currently occupy five day-time camps across the shire.
Flying-foxes roost or camp in groups during the day and tend to fly out together at dusk to feed.
Flying-foxes and their camps are protected under NSW and federal legislation, and they play a critical ecological role in pollination and long-distance seed dispersal. A single flying-fox can disperse up to 60,000 seeds in one night, contributing directly to the reproduction, regeneration and viability of forest ecosystems.
The occurrence of flying-foxes in the Eurobodalla is tightly linked to the flowering and fruiting of forage trees; individual bats can travel up to 100 kilometres each night in search of food.
These large native bats move between a network of camps, which may be occupied continuously, annually, irregularly or rarely, across Australia. The Eurobodalla camps in current use are located at Catalina, the Water Gardens at Batemans Bay, Moruya Heads, Tuross Head and Narooma.
The Moruya Heads camp has the greatest number of bats, although the population appears to be stabilising after large increases in population through December and January.
Dependent young are present at all five camps.
Living near a flying-fox camp can be challenging and the Eurobodalla Shire Council is committed to assisting affected individuals and communities. The Flying Fox Management Plan was developed in 2018 with community input and endorsed last November. The plan enables Council to respond to and help reduce flying-fox impact.
Council regularly monitors bat numbers and welfare, and the extent of camps. Heat stress is a particular welfare issue during the summer months. The community can assist monitoring by reporting sightings of new day-time camps.
For more information about flying-foxes in the shire or to report a new day-time camp sighting, visit www.esc.nsw.gov.au/flyingfoxes or contact Council’s environmental project officer Mitchell Jarvis at email@example.com or 4474 1265