Bat survey to guide policy

THE Port Macquarie flying fox colony was surveyed last week as part of the most comprehensive survey of flying foxes ever undertaken.

Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams said residents living near the Kooloonbung Creek Nature Reserve had been complaining about the local bat colony for some time.

She said she had made several representations to the Minister for the Environment, Robyn Parker, on this issue and the survey conducted last week would be used to help develop further policies in dealing with colonies near residential areas.

“While all endangered species need our protection, I fully understand communities’ concerns about flying fox colonies which have made their home in towns like Port Macquarie.

“This breakthrough census will deliver a reliable benchmark on the current size of the grey-headed flying fox population in 2013 and hopes to give an indication of population trends at the end of four years.

“It is a critical step in gathering important information to assist many communities like ours to manage the impacts of flying fox camps and to contribute to the conservation of the species.

“The grey-headed flying fox needs our protection but we also need to ensure that camps located near schools, homes and parks are managed to avoid creating unreasonable difficulties for local communities.”

The National Flying Fox Monitoring Program will comprise the first full national population census of grey-headed flying foxes throughout NSW, Queensland, Victoria, the ACT and South Australia.

The census will involve quarterly counts every year for the next four years and will be conducted simultaneously across every single known daytime roost in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, the ACT and South Australia in February, May, July and November each year. In NSW the effort is being co-ordinated by the Office of Environment and Heritage.

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