The management of a Grey-headed Flying-fox Pteropus poliocephalus camp in Berry, New South Wales, is a case study of the challenges faced by local councils and state environment agencies trying to address flying-fox impacts on residential communities. This camp is located wholly within residential lots and was first reported to Shoalhaven City Council in June 2019. Council and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) collaborated on engagement with residents to encourage community involvement and cohesion in the development of a management approach. This included sharing information on effectiveness of management actions at other camps, including dispersal attempts, to encourage residents to think more broadly about management options that would meet their needs. Conflicts between residents occurred due to different perspectives on the impact of the flying-foxes and when some residents repeatedly used noise to disturb flying-foxes, causing knock-on effects for other residents. Council and DPIE responded both indirectly through conversations and directly through issuing directives to cease harassment of flying-foxes. Council implemented a subsidy program to assist residents with options including high-pressure water cleaners and swimming pool covers. A vegetation management action plan was developed in collaboration with residents and implemented, with contractors selectively removing and lopping vegetation to increase distance between roosting flying-foxes and dwellings. Overall, resident surveys returned mostly positive satisfaction ratings of the management response. This case study highlights the unique challenges of managing flying-fox camps occurring wholly within residential properties, including defining responsibilities between stakeholders and establishing a cohesive management approach between affected residents. An additional challenge was presented during extreme heat events, which resulted in flying-fox carcasses amassing in backyards. Nevertheless, the case study demonstrated how important it is to engage the community in the development of management options, leveraging stakeholder support for decisions and establishing a shared understanding that all stakeholders are responsible for management outcomes.
A management case study of a Grey-headed Flying-fox Pteropus poliocephalus camp on residential land
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Matthew Mo, Lorraine Oliver, Kylie Coutts-McClelland, Nathaly Jones, Joshua Gregory; A management case study of a Grey-headed Flying-fox Pteropus poliocephalus camp on residential land. Australian Zoologist 2022; doi: https://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2022.006
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