Nature conservation

Threatened species

Flying-fox licensing review

OEH commissioned an independent review panel to determine whether the current OEH licensing policy for the legal harm (including killing) of flying-foxes in NSW remains valid (environmentally, economically and socially), particularly for the threatened grey-headed flying-fox. The review panel considered whether:

  • the animal welfare issues that result from shooting are acceptable legally and ethically
  • shooting of the threatened grey-headed flying-fox is impacting on the viability of the species
  • shooting is effective in reducing levels of crop damage, compared with other available, nonlethal techniques (including full exclusion netting)
  • industry has the capacity to solely rely on netting

The panel concluded that:

  • the animal welfare issues that result from shooting as a method of mitigating crop damage caused by flying-foxes are unacceptable ethically and legally
  • it is highly probable that the Grey-headed Flying-fox population is in decline and that any additional mortality can only increase the rate of decline. No matter what the causes, all death, mortalities are additive. Therefore any orchard shooting will hasten decline of the flying fox population, albeit by only a relatively small amount
  • shooting is ineffective when larger numbers of flying fox visit orchards. Full exclusion netting provides the most effective protection against damage from flying fox
  • the industry could rely solely on exclusion netting, as the means of Grey-headed Flying-fox crop damage mitigation. It is considered unlikely that netting would be erected to any large extent, in the Sydney area, without adequate government grants


Page last updated: 31 October 2014