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Megabats Eurobodalla Batemans Bay flying-foxes fruit bats

Grey headed flying foxes
Grey headed flying foxes have set up camps in a few locations across Eurobodalla and the numbers in the Batemans Bay camps are estimated to have over 100,000 flying foxes this year. This is the highest ever recorded here in living memory and represents about 20 per cent of the entire national grey-headed flying fox population.

Residents and businesses near the camps are experiencing distressing levels of noise, odour and faecal droppings, and have raised concerns about health and amenity.

It appears that the flying foxes have arrived to feed on spotted gums, which are currently flowering, and are a favoured food source. It is unclear where the flying-foxes have come from, but they will have left areas where food is in short supply and come to the Batemans Bay and surrounding areas to take advantage of the food being provided locally and by the surrounding forests.

Flying foxes, often called bats, have been recorded in high numbers at the Batemans Bay Water Gardens since 2013.

Just like previous years, we expect the majority of the flying foxes will move north once the weather turns cooler and the food supply runs short. Recent weekly monitoring indicates that the camp size at Batemans Bay has peaked and is starting to decline in line with the flowering season.

Grey headed flying foxes are a threatened species under State and Federal legislation and while this region is seeing huge numbers, on a national basis they are on the decline primarily due to clearing and modifying of native vegetation.

What is Council doing?

Draft dispersal plan on exhibition until 27 May 2016

Dispersal was carefully considered as an option when the Water Gardens flying fox camp management plan was developed in 2015. In response to the unprecedented growth in the flying fox population since the original plan was developed, we are re-assessing and expanding this Management Plan.
At its meeting on Tuesday 10 May 2016, Council agreed to present a draft flying fox dispersal plan to the community for their feedback.
It is important that we inform community members of the potential risks and factors affecting the likelihood of success before deciding if dispersal should proceed.
The plan outlines costs, timeframes, methods, risks, and alternative actions.
Please read the draft plan and consider the independent assessments and recommendations below and tell us if and when you think dispersal is suitable. You can give us your feedback through our online form, by email, or by post.
As required by NSW and Australian government legislation, any final plan will be submitted to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage for assessment and approval.

Independent assessments and recommendations

Two independent scientific reports both recommend against flying fox dispersal in Batemans Bay.
Council commissioned the assessment reports in conjunction with the draft dispersal plan to make sure the community and Council have as much evidence as possible when considering whether or not to proceed with an active dispersal of the flying foxes.
The first report from Ecosure strongly recommends against dispersal and describes the Batemans Bay scenario as the highest risk dispersal they have assessed.
The second report is by EcoLogical, who prepared the Water Gardens flying fox camp management plan for Council in December as well as the draft dispersal plan. It states that any type of dispersal or disturbance is high risk and unlikely to succeed because of the likelihood of the flying-foxes relocating to other unsuitable or inappropriate sites.
The EcoLogical report considers a wide range of actions that have been implemented or considered at other flying-fox camps, or that have been suggested by the community. Each action, many of which overlap with recommendations made by Ecosure, is costed and has recommendations.
We encourage you to review the draft dispersal plan and to consider the advice in the independent reports before commenting about if and when a dispersal is the best approach.

Find out more

Expressions of interest for casual or volunteer flying fox dispersal officers

Council is seeking expressions of interest from people who may have the ability and willingness to assist with dispersal activities should Council decide to proceed with dispersal.

Help for residents

We have worked with the community to develop a management plan to address the concerns of residents near the Water Gardens and the broader community, while not creating conflict between people and the flying foxes elsewhere, and managing the camp consistent with statutory requirements.
As part of this plan, we will maintain the buffer zones created last year where we pruned and removed some vegetation between the dwellings at the Water Gardens and provide practical help to eligible residents, including free rental of a high pressure cleaning, car cover, clothesline cover, and removal of cocoas palms - which attract flying foxes - from their yards.
Eligible residents include:
  • residents living within 250 metres of the Batemans Bay water gardens
  • Batemans Bay residents living on South Street, Pacific Street, High Street, Short Street, Old Princes Hwy, Bent Street, Bavarde Avenue and Orient Street
  • Catalina residents living on Heron Road, Country Club Drive, Albatross Road, Sandpiper Place, Penguin Place, Crane Court, Gull Close, Ibis Place and Gannet Place.
To apply for these subsidised services, complete the application form below and return it to us.


More information, research, NSW Health fact sheets

There is a lot of research underway to try and understand the behaviour of flying foxes so we can better manage their interaction with people, particularly in urban areas.
If you would like to find out more:

Council's latest updates

We have been sharing information about the impact flying foxes are having on the community and Council's actions via local media outlets, in our online newsletter, Council News, and on our facebookand twitter accounts.


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BatsRule!: Megabats Eurobodalla Batemans Bay flying-foxes fruit bats
Megabats Eurobodalla Batemans Bay flying-foxes fruit bats
Megabats Eurobodalla Batemans Bay flying-foxes fruit bats
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