Flying-foxes play a crucial role in the Australian eco-system by being one of the most efficient pollinators and seed dispersers of native Australian forest trees. They travel great distances each night in search of food, sometimes up to 50km per night.
In the Cairns region, we have a large number of the Spectacled Flying-fox, which is listed as 'vulnerable' under the Federal Government's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. This means that management of flying-foxes can be quite complex at times, and numerous restrictions are in place by the federal government.
Cairns Regional Council is working closely with local and national experts to determine a flying-fox management approach that balances conservation of these import native animals, and the amenity of residents, businesses and visitors.
There are plenty of myths around about flying foxes and how they interact with humans. Below, we provide you with the facts to properly understand the role of bats in the environment and how they choose to interact with people.
Research continues on the four Pteropus (flying-fox) species found on mainland Australia, the Spectacled, Grey-headed, Little Red and Black flying-foxes. This research is aimed at developing a better understanding of flying-fox behaviour, ecology and population trends to inform conservation and management strategies.
One of the largest research projects underway is the National Flying-fox Monitoring Program. This project is a collaboration between the Australian, NSW, Queensland, Victorian, South Australian and ACT governments and the CSIRO. The project leader, Dr David Westcott of CSIRO, lives and works on the Atherton Tablelands west of Cairns and is an invited member of Council's Flying-fox Advisory Committee.
More information on flying-fox research in Australia can be found at the following links:
- Monitoring flying-fox populations - Australian Government