Managing Troublesome Roosts with GPS Tracking

12 Jul 2016

flying fox bat tracked with gps

A $2.7 million investment over three years was announced by the Queensland Government for helping councils monitor the movements of the little-red flying fox and for improving urban area roosts.

Dr. Steven Miles, Environment Minister, confirmed the extra funding would be assigned in the State Budget next week.

GPS tracking devices will be fitted on around 50 bats to get an understanding on their movements around the state, where they feed, their roosting preferences and influential behavior factors.

This program is set to start in the gateway between the Cape York Peninsula known as the Charters Towers, later this year which is where millions of these little-red flying foxes gather around during the winter before they head south in search of flowering eucalypt during the warmer months.

The trackers will be attached by CSIRO scientists and willl be fitted onto collars made to fall off after several years.

At the moment, councils are allowed to move on roosts with smoke machines, loud noises and water cannons, but, they don’t have much control where they head next.

Towns like Linville and Kilcoy as well as Gold and Sunshine coast areas have become the hot-spots. According to Dr. Miles, the Government recognized the need to address the concerns of the community by managing urban flying-fox roots as well as ensuring these species long-term survival.

Satellite monitoring and GPS tracking will allow them to track and interpret flying fox movements across thousands of kilometers.

Information that is obtained from this work will help to guide future approaches and decision-making in order to manage urban area flying fox roosts. Dr. Miles says that residents need to be protected by nuisances like noise and smell caused by flying fox roosts in areas that are built-up.

At the same time, it is also recognized that the flying foxes play an important role in maintaining forest health and pollinating native plants.

Both the Government and Dr. Miles would still allow councils to address the local flying fox issues, hoping to be able to decommission many of the urban areas and city camps to get the animals away from people.

And although they don’t want a million little-flying bats in a person’s backyard, they still want to keep the bats healthy which helps to keep the environment healthy.

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