Flying-fox camp management

During the day, flying-foxes congregate to roost in trees. These locations are known as camps and can cause issues for the community when they are close to urban and regional settlements. These issues need proactive management.

In recognition of camp impacts and community concerns and to streamline regulation under current legislation, the NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (the department) developed the Flying-fox Camp Management Policy 2015, which includes a proactive camp management approach. 

Because flying-foxes can move between camps in different states and the ACT, the Australian Government also provides a referral guideline that can be used to ensure impacts on flying-foxes are minimised.

Proactive camp management

The proactive approach includes a hierarchy of actions and is based on the principle of using the lowest form of intervention required:

  • Level 1 actions involve routine activities that aim to maintain or improve the condition of the camp site.
  • Level 2 actions involve creating buffers around camps to separate humans and flying-foxes.
  • Level 3 actions involve the disturbance or dispersal of flying-foxes from a camp.

Land managers can also work with their communities to help reduce the impacts of flying-foxes.

The Flying-fox Camp Management Code of Practice 2018 applies to public land managers dealing with flying-fox camps on public land. The Code of Practice defines the standards required for effective and humane management of flying-fox camps for these circumstances. Actions needed to manage a flying-fox camp that are consistent with the terms of the Code will not require a licence.

Visit Flying-fox Camp Management Code of Practice 2018 for more information.

Land managers should develop a camp management plan to record how a flying-fox camp (or a number of camps) will be managed. 

Recent plans developed by land managers have covered the entire local government area.

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water provides a flying-fox camp management plan template (DOC 6.3MB), which addresses management options, flying-fox ecology, case studies of camp management and information about health issues. The template meets the requirements of the Flying-fox Camp Management Code of Practice 2018 (PDF 233KB) and Flying-fox Camp Management Policy 2015.

Help for communities

There are a number of products and services that can help communities. For example, temporary covers for vehicles, clotheslines and swimming pools can protect them from droppings. 

Outdoor areas can also be protected by installing a carport, shade cloth, marquee or pergola. 

High-pressure water cleaners or cleaning services can help clean droppings from property and the installation of double-glazing on windows may reduce the amount of noise inside dwellings.

Some land managers have implemented subsidy programs to help communities access such products and services. The department has held a review of subsidies for products and services to help communities living with flying-foxes. The review provides useful insights for land managers when designing subsidy programs and deciding which products and services to offer.

Resources for land managers

The department has developed the Living with flying foxes briefing fact sheet that provides a key information resource for new councillors, communications and media staff and planners dealing with flying-fox matters.

In collaboration with land managers, the department has developed the following series of case studies of flying-fox camp management:

Other resources