The management of wild animals in an urban environment is a complex and challenging task.

In attempts to minimise the impacts of Grey-headed flying fox camps on the community and to improve the amenity of the areas, Council has developed comprehensive management plans for both the Kareela and Camellia Gardens flying-fox camps.

These plans have been endorsed by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, in accordance with the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 which includes developing procedures for the community if an encounter with a flying-fox should occur.

The Autumn months (March - May) tend to see higher numbers of flying-foxes flocking to Sydney to breed, however numbers usually decrease again naturally over Winter as the flying-foxes migrate north.

Flying-fox Camp in Sutherland Shire

The Camellia Gardens camp was established during a food shortage in July 2016 and has held up to 4500 Grey-headed Flying-foxes.

Location: 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.

Management actions: 

  • 2016 - Attempted dispersal of the Camellia Gardens camp. Unsuccessful.
  • 2017 - Preparation of an Arboricultural Assessment Report.
  • 2018 - Preparation of a Flying-fox Camp Management Plan

Early attempts were made to disperse (move on) the Camellia Gardens flying-fox camp when it was first established in the winter of 2016. These attempts were unsuccessful and the licence to disperse the camp was subsequently withdrawn by the state government.

Other ongoing actions:

  • Bush regeneration and alternative habitat creation in Kareena Park Reserve.
  • Installation of deterrents, such as sprinklers and lights, to rest and protect Gardens vegetation from flying-fox roosting.
  • Provision of grants to assist directly affected residents with the removal of Cocos Palms and/or fruit.

Documents: Camellia Gardens Flying-fox Camp Management Plan - PDF - 3691 KB currently in place. Dispersal or relocation of the flying-fox camp, is not an activity that is permitted under this approved management plan.

The Kareela camp was established in 2008 adjacent Bates Drive and has held up to 20,000 flying-foxes during peak periods.

Location: The camp is situated adjacent special needs schools, residential properties and Harrie Denning soccer fields at Kareela.

Management actions: 

  • 2014 - Removal of vegetation to create a 20m buffer between schools/residents and the flying-fox camp.
  • 2015 - Revegetation of the 20m cleared buffer with low-growing vegetation.
  • 2015 - 2016 - Dispersal of the Kareela camp
  • 2017 - Further vegetation removal to create a 50m buffer.
  • 2017 - 2018 - Amenity impact reduction actions.

Other ongoing actions:

  • Eliminating activities that could disturb the flying-fox camp, which in turn disturbs the surrounding community.
  • Bush regeneration and weed control.
  • Community engagement and events.

Current status: Over the past 8 years Council has successfully managed the flying-fox camp at Kareela by selectively removing tall non-native vegetation and creating buffers between the adjacent residences and schools.

The numbers at this camp have subsequently reduced from over 15,000 (at its peak) and is now largely abandoned. This camp is monitored regularly and there have been no flying-fox recorded here since January 2022.

Documents: Kareela Flying-fox Camp Management Plan - PDF - 6157 KB currently in place. Dispersal or relocation of the flying-fox camp, is not an activity that is permitted under this approved management plan.

Dispersal or relocation of the flying-fox camp, is not an activity that is permitted under these approved management plans.

If you find an injured bat or flying-fox, don’t touch it. Contact WIRES (1300 094 737) and they will assign a trained and vaccinated volunteer to help.

Contact WIRES if you find an injured native animal