Coffs Harbour is home to three permanent flying-fox camps with the Woolgoolga Lake Camp and Barcoo Court Camp at Toormina both listed as nationally important sites for the species. There is also a camp at Coffs Creek, as well as other temporary camps that occur sporadically.
Flying-foxes play an important role in pollination and seed dispersal and are protected in NSW under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. The grey-headed flying-fox is also protected under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. However, loss of feeding areas and roosting habitat means that flying-fox camps are appearing more frequently in urban centres, creating conflict with residents who are concerned about possible health issues, noise and odour.
The Council has worked closely with residents for many years to develop strategies for people to exist peacefully with this threatened species. The
Coffs Harbour Flying Fox Camps Strategic Management Plan includes both long-term and short-term strategies for the management of flying-fox camps.
Australian bats are known to carry the lyssavirus. Catching this or any other viruses from bats is extremely unlikely as they can only be passed on by untreated bites or scratches from an infected bat. Further information about the virus and how to protect yourself can be found on the
NSW Health Links website.
Flying-foxes taking fruit from trees can also be an issue, information on
wildlife friendly netting is available online.
More information about living with flying-foxes can be found on the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage website. Information on this site includes odour and noise, disease risks, what to do if you are bitten or scratched by a flying-fox, what to do if you find a dead, injured or sick flying fox, and other information regarding living with flying-foxes.