CASINO’s flying fox “maternity camp” along the Richmond River has resulted in a few nearby parks being closed, with Richmond Valley Council urging residents and visitors to stay clear of the colony if possible.
While it is not unusual to witness the influx of little reds joining the grey-headed and black fruit bats to the area, it is the first time in quite a few years they have set up camp in and around the Irving Bridge.
Their occupation of the trees in this area has meant Webb and Memorial parks are closed to the public, as well as the eastern end of Coronation Park. Signs have been erected, and residents and visitors are asked to obey these closures as fallen branches are a regular occurrence. Residents in the affected areas should also be aware of these risks and if they need advice they can contact Council.
Richmond Valley Council General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said Council continued to work on the establishment of an alternative roosting site on the south-eastern side of the river, near Queen Elizabeth Park, to migrate the camp away from areas of concern.
Mr Macdonald said the plantings were a core part of Council’s Flying-fox Camp Management Policy, which was developed by consulting ecologists and introduced in 2015 following approval by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.
He said the project involved the planting of new roost habitat on the southern side of the river, combined with the removal of problem vegetation on the northern side, to create a buffer between the current flying-fox camp and nearby residences, businesses, and the Casino Public School.
He said the aim of the policy was to reduce the conflict between people and flying-fox colonies by supporting long-term solutions which improved and restored flying-fox habitat.
“I appreciate those living near the flying-fox camp could be finding the noise, smell and droppings from the roosts quite difficult right now,” Mr Macdonald said.
“Council has been working on mitigation measures, such as tree plantings, to reduce the likelihood of the flying foxes returning to backyards since 2008, and while the trees are yet to reach full growth they are having an effect with some flying foxes spotted utilising them for roosting.
“Other measures have included reducing foliage in trees and minimising areas for the flying foxes to roost, as well as establishing new habitat on the opposite side of river.
“It is important to remember the little reds are highly nomadic and most of them will move on again before too long.
“When they do move on, Council will clean up the affected parks so our community can get back to enjoying them.”