A small colony (100-5000) of Little Red Flying-foxes Pteropus scapulatusis usually resident at Mataranka Hot Springs in the semi-arid zone of the Northern Territory of Australia between October and February. In 1994-95 this changed markedly. More than 200 000 individuals were present and most did not depart until July. The colony generated a powerful smell and caused significant damage to the vegetation surrounding the Spring, resulting in conflict with tourist use of the area. Many methods were employed in attempts to shin animals, but none was successful. The situation is an extreme example of line problems caused by Australian Pteropus and highlights a general lack of informal on and effective management tecnniques for the genus and its habitats. Information on the sex ration and breeding condition of females at the colony is presented.
Australian bat Lyssavirus , first reported in mid-1996 from a Black Flying Fox Pteropus alecto has now been isolated from two other species of flying fox, a microbat and a human, who died of a rabies-like illness. Infected animals have been identified from widely separated localities in four Australian states. It is not known definitely from which species of animal the human victim contracted the disease, which is (are) responsible for spreading it. nor whether it is an old disease or one that has recently entered Australia. The infectivity of Australian bat Lyssavirus to humans and other mammals is not known, but its close genomic and antigenic relationship to classical rabies virus suggest that it is likely to be capable of causing fatal illness in most mammalian species. Its similarity to classical rabies virus also indicates that humans and other mammals will be protected by existing rabies vaccines. The discovery of Lyssavirus in Australian bats has highlighted the need for professional and community groups involved with wild animals to work together to decrease the risks to human health and to lessen the impact on bats and other native species. Educating the public about the risks of contact with bats is the single most important safeguard in protecting humans from a bat-borne disease. Concurrently, people need to be informed of the important role of bats in maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem integrity to minimize public impact on bats.