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Flying foxes pose no health risk: NPWS Megabat Fruit Bat


National Parks and Wildlife Service has continued to reaasure Batemans Bay residents that the flying foxes roosting in the Water Gardens pose no health risk to humans unless bitten.

As a protected wildlife species, anyone who interferes with the flying foxes and their camps is liable to prosecution and large fines.

NPWS staff are available to advise and assist any landholder, including the council, who is affected by flying foxes or any other native species.

With the Batemans Bay roost on Euro-bodalla Shire Council land, a council director said it would liaise with NPWS about the problem following complaints.
Planning and sustainability services director Lindsay Usher said the eastern grey flying foxes were protected under the NPW Act and listed as vulnerable under the Threatened Species Conservation Act.

“It is understood that the recent attempt to relocate flying foxes from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney followed a lengthy environmental assessment process, and approvals by both the Federal and State governments,” he said.

“Advice provided by NPWS to council in April is that the current population in Bate-mans Bay is present on a seasonal basis and will most likely move on of its own accord.”

The NPWS said this week it understood the concerns of the Batemans Bay community and had been working with council to ensure people are well informed about the species and the things that can be done to reduce conflict when living alongside the camps.

NPWS acting Far South Coast manager Stephen Dovey said staff had been talking to the community and distributing brochures and posters.

Jointly with the council, it has sent letters to residents who live near the flying fox camp.

Mr Dovey said NPWS would monitor the colony and continue to liaise with council and residents.

“NPWS considers the Batemans Bay colony to be a temporary camp and we believe it is likely to recede once the local food source, flowering eucalypts, diminishes,” Mr Dovey said.

“There are a number of options that the council can consider regarding the flying foxes and NPWS will continue to work with them on this issue.”

Mr Dovey said one option was for council to apply for a licence to attempt to move them but this would be a last resort and would not be guaranteed of approval.

Information is available on the web at www.environment.nsw.gov.au/animals/flyingfoxes.htm.

Back in April, just weeks after the colony began moving in in big numbers, NPWS reassured residents that the nomadic mammals would likely move on after feeding on the blossoms of flowering spotted gums.

Far South Coast manager Tim Shepherd reassured residents they posed no health risks unless people were bitten or scratched, and he warned people not to handle any injured flying foxes.

Although Australian bat Lyssavirus and Hendra virus are associated with flying foxes, the risk of them transmitting disease to humans was extremely low.

The NPWS officer said the virus was not spread through droppings or urine and was only transmitted by flying fox saliva coming into contact with an open wound or mucus membrane such as eyes, nose and mouth.

Residents worried by the issue can contact park rangers on 4760 8000.

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BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats: Flying foxes pose no health risk: NPWS Megabat Fruit Bat
Flying foxes pose no health risk: NPWS Megabat Fruit Bat
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BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats
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