Living near flying-fox camps can sometimes be problematic for local residents, because of health concerns and impacts on amenity. Because flying-foxes are protected in NSW, approval is required to disturb or relocate them. The following information suggests some simple measures that people can take to minimise the disturbance when they are living close to a flying-fox camp.
Why do people care about flying-foxes?
Flying-foxes, like koalas and kangaroos, are native species and are protected in Australia.
Flying-foxes play an important role in Australian environments because they are natural pollinators and seed dispersers. They are crucial for the survival and regeneration of our native forests and are important for local honey production. They also provide food for other native animals such as owls.
Flying-foxes in your back yard?
Flying-foxes may visit your back yard at night but are unlikely to stay for long. Residential back yards are rarely ideal roosting habitat for flying-foxes, but instead may be a source of food such as nectar and fruit during night time feeding activities.
Schools near flying-fox camps
Schools in close proximity to flying-fox camps should encourage students to stay away from the flying-foxes, their droppings and urine. Children should always wash their hands with soap and water after playing outside as a matter of good hygiene. Where roost trees occur in close proximity to outdoor play areas, schools should discuss tree lopping and removal with their local council. Consider installing shade cloths or protective covers, or restrict access to the area temporarily.
Pets and flying-foxes
Pets should be kept away from flying-foxes if possible. If a pet becomes sick after contact with a flying-fox, seek advice from a veterinarian.
Netting of garden fruit trees
If you have fruit trees in your back yard and want to protect them from flying-foxes, OEH recommends the use of wildlife-friendly netting that is well secured and has a gap size of less than five millimetres. Guidelines have been prepared to help owners of back yard and commercial fruit trees in the proper construction of netting structures that will protect their trees from damage and minimise harm to native wildlife, including flying-foxes.
For more information download Protect your garden fruit in a wildlife friendly way (PDF 1MB).
Plant roost trees away from houses
To make roost trees near housing less attractive to flying-foxes, clear shrubs and plants from under trees and remove some of the branches of the trees.
Where there are no trees near housing or along fence lines, low, dense trees and shrubs can be planted as flying-foxes are unlikely to roost in them. Over time, a roost may be encouraged to move by planting roost trees further away from houses.