Managing the Grey-headed Flying-fox Pteropus poliocephalus as a threatened species: a context for the debate
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Peggy Eby, Daniel Lunney, 2002. "Managing the Grey-headed Flying-fox Pteropus poliocephalus as a threatened species: a context for the debate", Managing the Grey-headed Flying-fox: As a Threatened Species in NSW, Peggy Eby, Daniel Lunney
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From the time of European settlement of Australia, flying-foxes have been treated as vermin and their management has focused on attempts to control numbers in local areas by culling and disturbance. The listing of Grey-headed Flying-foxes as vulnerable under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act) heralded a controversial shift in management to accommodate conservation goals. The decision to list Grey-headed Flying-foxes was based on a decline in numbers related predominately to habitat loss and was taken after a lengthy and thorough review of evidence gathered from a range of experts and the public. Grey-headed Flying-foxes migrate hundreds of kilometres between successive areas of nectar flow, and the numbers present in a local area fluctuate widely between seasons and between years. Intensive episodes of crop damage or conflict at roosts occur intermittently in line with the irregular patterns of nectar flow and migrations. The practice of killing Grey-headed Flying-foxes in crops, and disrupting them at roosts, is carried out on the assumption that the species is organised as discrete local populations whose size can be controlled locally. They continue to be primary management tools despite their failure either to provide consistent protection to the commercial fruit industry or to resolve conflict at controversial camps. There is an urgent need to develop new approaches to flying-fox management. It is our view that effective methods of on-crop control and conflict resolution at camps are essential to the recovery of Grey-headed Flying-foxes.