Council works towards moving flying foxes

Colac Otway Shire Council will look to move Colac’s bat population and it estimates numbers have quadrupled in the past month.

Colac Otway Shire Council will look to move Colac’s bat population and it estimates numbers have quadrupled in the past month.

The council said it would work with relevant authorities and interest groups to develop a plan to relocate more than 4000 grey-headed flying foxes from Colac Botanic Gardens.

Council service and operations manager Frank Castles said the bat population had increased dramatically over the past month and threatened multiple trees in the gardens including heritage-listed trees.

“They are not just in the one heritage-listed tree anymore, we’ve had another colony arrive and they are in other trees as well,” he said.

Mr Castles said he met with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning last week to “discuss the current status of the bats in Colac, along with the Geelong Botanical Garden’s experience”.

See today’s Colac Herald for more.

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17 Responses to “Council works towards moving flying foxes”

  1. Chris Miller

    Leave the bats alone they’re ugly little creatures but watching them as they fly through the air is magical.

  2. ROB

    why don`t all these people from out of Colac making comments about the bat problem just go back where they come from and keep their noses out of Colac

  3. Rob

    Well lawrence pope if you like these bats so much why don`t you take them back to Melbourne with you. Our gardens were established in 1865 and have provided the people of Colac with a great deal of pleasure ever since but now the bats have taken over the people are disappearing and the trees are being killed just so the bats have somewhere to roost during the day these are trees of great significance and once they are gone they are gone. The bats don`t help these trees survive and are slowly killing them and the whole gardens We have never had bats in Colac before in such big numbers so why should the locals have to put up with them now how many people are going to come from all over the world to support our town that is a joke we NEED to move these bats on now before they totally destroy our beautiful gardens and stop the stink and destruction that they bring with them

  4. Adele

    Bats are awesome!! Beautiful, adorable, interesting and totally lovable… if only everyone could appreciate how wonderful they are. We are so lucky to have such unique wildlife, which are so important to protect.

  5. Ashleigh Rosano

    Flying foxes have already have already lost so much habitat due to human expansion. Yet again, someone has the idea to move the species elsewhere just because they present a minor inconvienance and no doubt the council will try to paint it like it’s a positive move. A native species that plays such a vital role to the environment as a pollinator is more important than a couple of old trees. This species is constantly subject to criticism and doesn’t receive the conservation protection it deserves, honestly shifting them for a botanical display is outrageous. If the council really cared about trees so much they would be doing more to protect the species (a species for which trees may not exist without) and create an environment where the bats and botanical display could thrive. The solution should not always be to get rid of something that inconvienances you, really poor lesson for future generations Colac Otway Shire Council.

  6. Isabelle Higgins

    Flying foxes are Australian natives and a keystone species that we should treasure as they play a role even more important than bees as they pollinate trees. There number increase in spring and summer but will go down again when they migrate North in winter. I personally love seeing the colony in Botanic garden around the city and the Shire should implement long term trees planting and potential roosting site development well before even talking about relocating the bats if this is something that cannot be avoided.

  7. Rob

    Well put. These intelligent creatures are so essential to the viability of our environment.

  8. Lisa Roberts, Friends of Bats and Habitat Gippsland

    Given that thousands of Grey headed flying foxes dies on one hot day this January in Gippsland due to poor quality roosting habitat and being unable to escape the 46degrees heat of that day. And given that 26,000 Spectacled flying fox died in 2 hot days in December in North QLD, constituting a loss of 1/3 of the national population, why is the Federal government not stepping in to protect this species that is Protected under Wildlife Act 1975 (Victoria) Listed “Threatened” under Victoria’s Flora & Fauna Guarantee Act 1988, Listed “Critical Priority” under Federal Department of Environment and Heritage Protection’s “Back on Track” Species Prioritisation Framework, Listed as Vulnerable (to extinction) under Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-29/flying-foxes-die-from-heat-stress-eastern-victoria/10756426

  9. Jae Price

    Leave the Flying Fox alone. They are doing no harm. Humans are destroying their habitat every day. Leave the Flying Fox alone Mr Castles.

  10. Jeff Cole

    Don’t let a group of out of town environmentalists, telling us why these bats are important and why they should be here, ”spook “us and stop us from debating this issue.
    I’m sure these bats do provide a great service to nature, no-one’s denying that, but let’s face reality, the beautiful ancient Botanical Gardens are a sanctuary for humans, and other less destructive birds and that there are plenty more trees elsewhere these bats can do their job for nature. I watched a beautiful Kookaburra sing his song and when the flock of hundreds of bats started flying over him he stopped and literally cringed. Most days I use the gardens twice a day and more and more bats are arriving and are eating or destroying more and more trees. It’s time to say ‘enough”!
    OK so its cooler here for them, that’s great, so move them further south to help preserve them. The local council or whoever is responsible needs to stop worrying about being politically correct and bite the bullet, make a tough but logical decision and do whatever they have to do to move these smelly, noisy, stinky and dangerous (according to the sheet hanging on the front entrance of the gardens) bats, because if the trend continues, their numbers will grow and so will their destruction and the size of the problem and our beautiful old trees will be either lost or damaged forever. If it’s good enough for Melbourne’s Botanical Gardens to get rid of them then its good enough for our Botanical Gardens. As Clint Eastwood would say, “Get off my trees”.

  11. Michelle Thomas

    Colac community should be embracing the flying foxes as a huge income boost with the potential for tourist dollars to roll your way. Bat enthusiasts can travel half way around the world and spend very large dollars in your community
    Don’t be foolish they don’t move they end up breaking up the colony dispersing it into people back yards and wasting money that I’m sure could be spent better in your local community

  12. Galena Debney

    Colac currently has a natural and mobile attraction, the bat colony spending some time in town and giving a hand with free work pollinating community gardens while they are there. I’d celebrate the fact that this clearly shows Colac has a healthy natural environment which plenty of polluted towns would like. Plant more of their favourite trees and the town will become even more beautiful and the bats might get the accolades they deserve as efficient and trusty pollinators.

  13. Kate

    Of course the numbers have increased in the past month, the babies have been born and are becoming more independent. This number will drop again once they move north in search of warmer winter climates.
    As an endangered species listed under the EPBC and FFG, they need to be protected not harmed by moving them. And, as far as I am aware, there is nowhere for the colony to relocate to in the area.
    Can you not see the changes in environment and species already occurring. We need to stop thinking that just because the gardens or area is not the same as it was 100 years ago that it’s bad. That just because a species is somewhere it hasn’t been in the past, the we need to move it on. It’s a pretty big indicator that habitat destruction is bad when species voluntarily move to inhabit areas with humans.

  14. Monique Ferrier

    Flying foxes are so important to our whole environment and Colac should not plan to relocate this colony. The Colac Shire Council should gain more expert information regarding why this would be a disastrous plan. Appropriate community information and education by the experts who have the expertise and experience in dealing with flying fox colonies will help to reduce the anxiety that some members of the community have.

  15. Jack Reynolds

    Council and ratepayers had better be ready to put a million dollars or more into this coz it cost that much to finally get the Yarra bend bats to move. Or maybe it’d be a total failure and they’ll just end up at the park or peoples backyards.
    Just don’t play god with nature. Haven’t ya learned that yet.

  16. Charlie Schroeder

    The problem is not the Flying Foxes. It is peoples perception of then and a Botanic Garden. Without wildlife, Flying Foxes and other born and bred Australians in this instance, a botanic garden is a too sterile place. Without the entertainment and movement that should be a part of any living garden of value on the earth, it is too little, not enough. The time is right to embrace the Flying Foxes as part of the Botanic Gardens which is part of Colac, which is part of Victoria. A unique place, a magic place. Ask any child who has not had their mind turned against Flying Foxes.

    The Flying Foxes are the long range pollinators of many valuable plants, as well as imaginations. They are the teachers aides of all manner of beneficial behaviours, including community tolerance.

    Colac is blessed to have these, that like all wildlife, can teach us so much that is truly valuable, while maintaining forested areas and reseeding those that have been damaged. Their persecution is the symptom of misunderstanding and prejudice, embracing and protecting them as part of our world, is the cure for many current ills.

  17. Lawrence Pope ( Pres.Friends of Bats & Bushcare Inc)

    Regarding ‘Council Works Towards Moving Flying Foxes’ (15.2.19) The Grey-headed flying fox is a single dynamic population from Brisbane to Adelaide. It is native to Australia. Numbers in individual camps rise and fall depending on local food supplies (nectar, pollen and fruit) and weather conditions.We currently have around 40,000 at Yarra Bend Park in Melbourne. This will drop to between 1000 and 6000 over winter. The idea that “we’ve had another colony has arrive” in Colac demonstrates a paucity of understanding. It is incorrect. Animals migrate as individuals. In order to “relocate” a colony of Grey-headed at least five alternative sites of a quality equal or similar to that of the botanic gardens would need to be identified. They would also need to be within a few kilometres of the CBG. Sydney and Melbourne had multiple sites but it is hard very hard to see where these might be in the highly degraded landscapes surrounding Colac. The CBG is playing a direct physical role in the preservation of this keystone pollinator. It is time to change the record and the thinking – not the bats. Australian bats in an Australian garden in Australia. Time to be fair-dinkum and mature about conservation and Australia’s botany even if it inconveniences us a little from time to time.