Did you know that unauthorised interference with flying-foxes or their roosts can result in fines of up to $130,550 or one year of imprisonment under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992? You can add up to $10,500,000 to the bill if the interference has a significant impact on either of the two flying-foxes listed under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (spectacled flying-fox and grey-headed flying fox)!
Flying-foxes are important
Flying-foxes are vital for maintaining biodiversity and healthy ecosystems. As they fly around the landscape they disperse seeds and pollen. This plays a significant role in forest maintenance and regeneration, and supports healthy gene pools in the plant species they visit.
Four flying-fox species occur in Australia:
- Spectacled flying-fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) – Vulnerable under Commonwealth and Queensland legislation
- Grey-headed flying-fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) – Vulnerable (Commonwealth) and Least Concern (Queensland)
- Little-red flying-fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) – Least Concern (Queensland)
- Black flying-fox (Pteropus alecto) – Least Concern (Queensland
Human-wildlife conflict management is complex
Unfortunately, because of their tendency to roost in built up areas, and their love of fruit, flying-foxes often come into conflict with humans. A range of factors contribute, including:
- Noise, odour, and bodily wastes
- Vegetation damage
- Perceived risk to human health
- Damage to backyard and commercial fruit crops
- Reduced amenity for people who live or work near roost sites
Because of these and other factors flying-foxes are often the subject of management actions. Deciding on an appropriate management approach can be extremely difficult. However, an environmental consultant with expertise in flying-fox ecology and behaviour can provide assessments and advice to enable the best outcomes for humans and flying-foxes. They should also be adept at navigating the regulatory minefield. With this combination it is possible to achieve flying-fox management outcomes that meet legal obligations, community expectations, and welfare and conservation objectives.
Biosphere Environmental Consultants have a sound understanding of flying-fox ecology and management, and relevant legislation and regulatory requirements. To help you make sense of the minefield, we’ve developed a free Flying-fox Management Support Tool for Queensland. Please take a look and don’t hesitate to contact us for an obligation free chat about how we can help solve your flying-fox challenges.
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In our next post we’ll introduce you to the delightful and fascinating stingless bees of Australia.
Author: Damian Morrant