Due to habitat clearing, human encroachment and drought flying-foxes appear to be more frequently roosting and foraging in urban areas. When combined with the opportunities presented by year-round food availability from native and exotic species in urban areas this results in increased interactions between humans and flying-foxes. Subsequently, tensions arise in many communities regarding how to best manage flying-fox colonies.
The proper and humane management of Queensland's many flying-fox colonies doesn't only affect community residents. Farmers, environmentalists, the Queensland State Government and many local governments all have an interest in this issue, so it is no surprise that the flying-fox management debate sporadically becomes a hot political issue for Queensland communities.
Flying-fox removal in Queensland continues to be governed by the same legislation covering all protected animals in Queensland.
The State Government’s approach to flying-fox roost management introduced in 2013 allows urban councils an ‘as-of-right’ authority to make flying-fox management decisions for their local community without applying for a state-issues permit. This change does not impact upon the responsibility of councils to respond to flying-fox issues in their jurisdiction. This is an important factor that is often lost amidst increased media coverage and accompanying rising levels of community concern. How a council responds to a flying-fox management issue needs to be tempered with a range of environmental, ecological, financial and practical concerns, as well as management of community expectations.
Although the response to the complex issue of managing flying-fox interactions with human and other animal populations often involves both state and local government, it is important to note that the Department of Environment and Science is responsible for the conservation of flying-foxes in Qld. Any management of flying-foxes, their roosts or foraging habitat must comply with the requirements of the Department.
LGAQ continues to work with and for Qld councils on this issue by providing representation, resources, legislative and legal support.
In your community
Flying-fox roosts and foraging habitat often exist across multiple tenures, and management of any one site can involve various landholders. The most positive outcomes for the community, the flying-foxes and the success of a management strategy will depend on a comprehensive approach across various tenures. To best achieve this, appropriate strategies and resource contributions for the benefit of all parties should be mutually agreed upon.
It is important to recognise that any management decision by one landholder may impact on another, and so decisions need to be made with consideration of these potential impacts.
Keep in mind the limitations of council responsibility. Flying-fox camps are the responsibility of the land owner upon which the camps are located. Camps can be on private, government or council land. Councils only have authority to take action on their land; however council may choose to help facilitate action on another piece of land.
Never handle an injured bat or flying-fox. Contact the RSPCA (1300 ANIMAL), your local wildlife carer or the Department of Environment and Science (1300 130 372).
- The National Flying-fox Forum was held on the 25th October 2017 in Sydney. Presentations are now available on the EIANZ website
- Many council websites also have information pages for their community:
Gold Coast City Council
Moreton Bay Regional Council
Sunshine Coast Regional Council
Cairns Regional Council
- Further information on disease is provided by Qld Health and Biosecurity Queensland.
- Access to Member resources is available via LG Online.