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Grey-headed Flying-foxes
Singleton hosts a colony of flying-foxes at the historic Burdekin Park. The colony first arrived in the November of 2000 and has been present every since. Their numbers have fluctuated throughout the years from next to nil up to approximately 20,000. This fluctuation is mainly based on the availability of the food sources around the area. They feed mostly on native blossoms but also are attracted to fruits and palms. They are a protected species due to the numbers in the wild dropping because of loss of habitat and food sources.

However, to the local community they seem to be increasing in numbers.  The majority of the flying-foxes seen are the Grey-Headed Flying-Fox which is a protected species under State and Federal law.

What has Singleton Council done?

In 2013 Council adopted the Flying-fox Management Strategy to assist in managing Burdekin Park. Council and the community adopted option 1 for managing the park as other efforts were too costly at the time. The purpose of the document is to support any applications made to the government in relocation efforts, and to educate the community. 

The strategy clearly shows the impact that the flying-foxes have had on the park and community. It also outlines the many of the efforts that have happened over the past 15 years to move on the flying-foxes, but to no avail.  Some of the methods attempted have been:

  • loud noises
  • using loud machinery
  • placing irrigation system in the trees to annoy them
  • placing loud speakers in the trees to make the space unpleasant
  • using light and shiny things

In 2010 Council removed some trees and trimmed a lot of branches for public safety as the flying-foxes had defoliated and eventually destroyed the trees. This maintenance work required permission from both the State and Federal Governments as the flying-foxes are a protected species. This work was never intended as a relocation effort, it was solely for public safety.

Council will continue to investigate all legal means and options to reduce the impact caused to our residents and visitors by the flying-foxes. We take seriously the negative impact this has caused the community, however, we need to manage the flying-foxes in a legally supported way.

On 3 March 2016, Council closed the park until further notice due to the increased risk of falling branches. Temporary barricades were installed pending conditions improving or a permanent solution being found.

Council also applied to amend its Section 91 licence to conduct emergency trimming to the trees to remove dangerous branches.

Health risks
Yes, flying-foxes carry diseases just like all native animals. As with all animals, precautions need to be taken when you come across a flying-fox. Your safety should always come first before the safety of an animal. Precautionary measures include:
  • Never touch a flying-fox
  • Never pick up a dead or injured flying-fox
  • Never attempt to climb or grab a flying-fox

If you have an injured or dead flying-fox on your property call Wildlife Aid on 0429 850 089.

The presence of flying-foxes within public parks and residential areas has led to concerns about possible health risks for those living in the community. The following links to fact sheets provides information on the following diseases that are of major concern.

Hendra Virus
Australian Bat Lyssavirus
Menangle Virus

More information
Grey-headed flying-foxes
For further information on flying-foxes and the impacts they have on health please click here to the NSW Health Website which provides some common answers and questions to help alleviate your concerns.

Other Links
The following links provide further information on the protection of the flying-foxes within Burdekin Park.

Office of Environment and Heritage
Department of the Environment
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995
National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974
OEH Flying-fox Camp Management Policy

For more information contact Council's Customer Service Centre on 02 6578 7290.

Singleton Council
PO Box 314 Singleton NSW 2330
Ph: 02 6578 7290