ABSTRACT

Flying-fox camps in urban areas are a contentious wildlife management issue. Since 2012, Grey-headed Flying-foxes Pteropus poliocephalus have regularly occupied two camps in Batemans Bay, New South Wales (NSW). At one site, the Water Gardens, impacts on adjacent residents and businesses occur when animals roost near the reserve boundaries. During March–July 2016, a large influx of flying-foxes arrived, causing the camps to spread into neighbouring residential, recreational and industrial areas. Prior to this, impacts had been mitigated through vegetation clearing to create buffer zones and residential subsidies for mitigation equipment and services. The influx warranted additional measures such as a dispersal program and further vegetation removal, which were expedited by the Commonwealth Government granting a National Interest Exemption under section 158 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the NSW Government committing $2.5 million in funding towards the new measures. These measures moved flying-foxes from key conflict areas but also coincided with flying-fox numbers reducing as local blossom diminished. Ongoing community engagement played an important role in building community resilience to live with this threatened species, which is vital considering that Batemans Bay will likely continue to be an important area for flying-foxes.

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