Why are the flying-foxes protected?

    They Grey-headed Flying-fox is a threatened species which means they are at risk of becoming extinct in the medium term future. Their numbers have declined significantly in recent times due to habitat clearing for development. Their role as pollinators and seed dispersers is critical and due to their loss of habitat they are increasingly moving into urban areas. See link https://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/welcome/royal_botanic_garden/gardens_and_domain/wildlife/flying-foxes for further information.

    Why has Council resolved to disperse the camp?

    Due to the close proximity of the camp to neighbouring special needs schools and residences and the significant community complaints. Council prepared a Plan of Management for the Kareela camp and have implemented many of the actions detailed in the Plan.

    What actions has Council already implemented?

    The following actions were undertaken to manage the camp:

    • preparation of aPlan of Management
    • removal of vegetation to create a 20m buffer between schools/residents and the flying-fox camp
    • community education workshops and events
    • eliminating activities that could disturb the flying-fox camp (which in turn disturbs the surrounding community)
    • developing procedures for the community if an encounter with a flying-fox should occur

    These actions were not sufficient to reduce impacts on the surrounding community. Council has now undertaken actions to disperse the camp away from Kareela. 

    How is dispersal being undertaken?

    Steps that have been undertaken and will continue to be undertaken, until at least 2016 to disperse the flying-foxes and prevent them from returning include:
    • Making noise for one hour prior to sunrise (between 4:30am and 7am depending on sunrise times)
    • The use of smoke created by fires contained in small drums (in the camp and Joseph Banks Gardens)
    • The use of physical disturbance (people moving around roosting locations)
    • Use of light to deter the flying-foxes from landing (in and around roosting locations)
    These actions are being undertaken at the Kareela camp, within the adjacent school facilities, in Mikarie Pl, Joseph Banks Gardens and Kareela Golf Course.

    To date dispersal has been deemed a success with numbers of flying-foxes reducing significantly over the month of August. The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) have given approval for Council to continue into the "maintenance dispersal" phase which is likely to last at least until 2016. Maintenance dispersal involves actions as listed above until flying-foxes no longer attempt to colonise the Kareela vegetation or until the vegetation is modified such that it is no longer suitable. Some roosting habitat removal at the Kareela camp is likely to be undertaken however OEH have not yet given approval for this. In the mean time a "master plan" for the site will be developed to ensure that the reserve is adequately maintained, regenerated and that the potential for recolonisation of the habitat by flying-foxes is reduced.

    What are the health risks associated with the flying-foxes?

    NSW Government Health states that there is no risk to the community from the flying-foxesproviding that no handling or direct contact occurs. Even though a small percentage of flying-foxes may carry the Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV) a vaccine is available which, if administered immediately following a bite or scratch, can prevent the virus from developing. For further information on flying-foxes and health visitNSW Government Health - Flying-foxes and health.

    Do not handle flying-foxes.  Call WIRES on 1300 094 737 if you come across an injured, orphaned or dead flying-fox.