Flying Foxes

The Sutherland Shire is home to four camps of grey-headed flying-foxes. The four camps are Kareela Flying-fox camp, Camellia Gardens Flying-fox camp, Captain Cook Drive Flying-fox camp and Desalination Plant Flying-fox camp. The 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 roosting in urban areas.

Council have worked towards managing flying-foxes with a priority on reducing the impact of the camp/s on the community. All actions udnertaken in relation to flying-fox management are done in accordance with State and Federal legislation that protects the Grey-headed Flying-fox.

If you find a bat or flying fox do not handle it.  Call WIRES on 1300 094 737 they have trained and vaccinated volunteers that will assist.

Kareela Flying-fox Camp

The Kareela camp was established in 2008 adjacent Bates Drive and has had up to 20,000 flying-foxes during peak periods. The camp is situated adjacent special needs schools, residential properties and Harrie Denning soccer fields at Kareela. The following management actions have been undertaken at Kareela in order to reduce the impacts on the community and to improve the amenity of the area:

  • preparation of a Flying-fox Camp Management Plan (2013)
  • removal of vegetation to create a 20m buffer between schools/residents and the flying-fox camp (2014)
  • revegetation of the 20m cleared buffer with low growing vegetation (2015)
  • developing procedures for the community if an encounter with a flying-fox should occur
  • dispersal of the Kareela camp (2015-2016)
  • eliminating activities that could disturb the flying-fox camp, which in turn disturbs the surrounding community (ongoing)
  • community engagement and events (ongoing)
  • amenity impact reduction actions - currently being implemented
  • further vegetation removal - currently being implemented

Camellia Gardens Flying-fox Camp

The Camellia Gardens camp was established during a food shortage in July 2016 and has had up to 1500 flying foxes. The camp is situated in Council's Camellia Gardens on the corner of Matson Crescent and President Ave Caringbah South in a residential area adjacent Yowie Bay.The following management actions have been undertaken at Camellia Gardens:

  • developing procedures for the community and Camellia Gardens staff if an encounter with a flying-fox should occur
  • attempted dispersal of the Camellia Gardens camp (winter 2016), this was unsuccessful 
  • community engagement and events (ongoing)
  • preparation of a Plan of Management - currently being implemented
  • preparation of a vegetation management plan - currently being implemented

Captain Cook Drive Flying-fox Camp

The Captain Cook Drive camp was discovered by Council in February 2017, it was likely to have established during the 2016-17 food shortage and has had up to 800 flying foxes. The camp is situated on Council land off Captain Cook Drive opposite Elouera Rd Kurnell and does not have any sensitive land uses in close proximity.The following management actions have been undertaken at Captain Cook Drive:

  • developing procedures for the community if an encounter with a flying-fox should occur
  • community engagement (ongoing)
  • preparation of a Plan of Management - currently being implemented

Desalination Plant Flying-fox Camp

The Desalination Plant camp was regularly occupied over summer up until 2006-07 summer when the desalination plant was constructed and the flying-foxes moved to the Kareela reserve and formed the Kareela camp. After 10 years, during the 2016-17 food shortage, this camp was found to be occupied by up to 400 flying-foxes. The camp is situated on Desalination Plant property and does not have any sensitive land uses in close proximity. Veolia are responsible for the management of this flying-fox camp in accordance with a Conservation Management Plan for the site.

Report a flying-fox sighting

Health risks and flying-foxes

NSW Government Health states that there is no risk to the community from the flying-foxes providing 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 visit NSW Government Health - Flying-foxes and health.

Ecology of Flying-foxes

Information on the ecology of grey-headed flying foxes/protection status from Department of the Environment

Location

Address: ,

More information

Policies and documents

Kareela Grey-headed Flying Fox Camp Plan of Management Kareela Flying Fox Camp Dispersal Plan

Enquiries

Enquiries can be directed to Beth Noel on 9710 0686 or bnoel@ssc.nsw.gov.au

Flying-fox sighting

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