General flying fox roost updates
Spring has certainly sprung across the region, with flying foxes moving back into their summer sites and babies starting to be born. Flying foxes are present in all of our seven monitored sites and a maternity roost has established itself once again at Frizzo’s Reserve adjacent to the highway near AUSSIE world.
3rd annual national flying fox forum
This conference was held on 8 November, with Council having their recent research partnership and use of canopy mounted sprinkler system presented as novel techniques to other land managers across Australia, once again demonstrating that we are at the forefront of flying fox management.
This was also an opportunity to investigate what other management techniques have proven successful across the country and how they might be implemented in Sunshine Coast. Of note was a study into flying fox noise impacts and the effectiveness of double glazing windows in reducing the levels.
The BatMap has been launched and is now publically available. The idea of this map is for the public to see what the numbers of flying foxes are across all of our monitored sites and show the bigger picture of where they move across the entire region. Up to date population details can be seen for all seven roosts currently under routine monitoring.
Halloween bat night
The inaugural Halloween Bat Night was held in Caloundra on Wednesday 31 October.
A great night was had by all, with over 250 people learning about the ecology and environmental importance of bats.
If you have any photos or videos from the event that you would like to share, please tag #frankietheflyingfox to follow her adventures at educational events.
Bats in focus – Christmas Island flying fox
I am starting a new segment in Community News, shining a light on a bat species from around the world. To start this off though, I will start close to home, with a very important, endemic Australian bat that fits the theme at this time of year - the Christmas Island flying-fox, Pteropus natalis.
The Christmas Island flying-fox is found only on Christmas Island and was federally listed as Critically Endangered in 2014. It is now the last remaining native mammal on the island, with 2016 surveys estimating the population size as < 2,700 individuals.
This small bat looks very similar to the black flying foxes found on the mainland, but is approximately half the size. It feeds on fruit and nectar and is unique from other bats as it actively forages for food during the day!
A 1988 cyclone drastically impacted the species as the strong winds blew many of the bats too far offshore to recover and those that did were unable to find suitable food sources due to the damage on food trees.
Since that time, the species has continued to decline largely due to the introduction of feral species on the island. Feral cats and yellow crazy ants have caused continual decline in the population size through predation.
It is hoped that with increased federal funding for research and the Christmas Island feral cat eradication project, this species can be saved before it is too late.