Community perceptions of flying-foxes in New South Wales
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Daniel Lunney, Adele Reid, Alison Matthews, 2002. "Community perceptions of flying-foxes in New South Wales", Managing the Grey-headed Flying-fox: As a Threatened Species in NSW, Peggy Eby, Daniel Lunney
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Evidence of Grey-headed Flying-fox Pteropus poliocephalus decline and its listing as a vulnerable species in May 2001 means it can no longer be managed simply as a pest species. A 1988 statewide community survey of flying-foxes undertaken by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service following their protection in 1986 provides useful information that can assist current management. Community perceptions must be understood and incorporated in practice if management decisions about flying-foxes are to be effective. In 1988 flying-fox sightings (n=1303) were found to be widespread across NSW and more than half of the respondents had observed them. Twenty-three camps were identified in NSW, many located near water and human habitation. Flying-foxes were present throughout much of NSW during January while in July they were recorded only along the coastal areas of northern NSW and within the Sydney Metropolitan area. Forty-four per cent of country respondents registered a problem with flying-foxes compared to twenty-eight per cent in the non-urban Sydney Metropolitan area and only four per cent in the urban Sydney Metropolitan area. In both country NSW and non-urban Sydney Metropolitan, most orchardists surveyed recorded a problem. Flying-foxes eating fruit was a common problem identified by respondents from all areas, but aspects of their presence (such as noise and mess) was a greater problem for respondents in the urban Sydney Metropolitan area. Country NSW respondents more commonly observed flying-foxes on domestic fruit trees than on either native or orchard trees. Even though it was well known that orchardists had a problem with flying-foxes, it was not anticipated that domestic growers had a problem as well. Thus management of flying-foxes must consider their impact on domestically grown fruits alongside commercial fruit production. This points to an overemphasis in management of the commercial aspects of flying-foxes, when other community perceptions are present.