As the weather heats up Byron Shire residents are being asked to keep a look out for flying foxes which are already showing signs of struggling with the drought and warmer temperatures.
Many flying foxes are returning to their regular roosting areas after their winter migration and unfortunately the prolonged dry weather means many trees and plants have not produced the flowers and fruits that the mammals rely on.
Peter Boyd, Council’s Biodiversity Project Officer, said flying foxes can’t go without food for too long and it appears this is resulting in an unusual amount of dead and sick flying foxes being found.
“We are also seeing some flying foxes in trees that they would not normally be in and they seem to be weak and trying to gain strength before they fly back to their roosts,” Mr Boyd said.
“If people find a sick or injured flying fox please don’t try to move it on – call WIRES on 6628 1898 instead.
“People should never pick up or touch flying foxes – WIRES volunteers are experts in this area,” he said.
Grey-headed and Black flying foxes are the key pollinators and seed dispersers in our bush and they are vital for propagating more than 100 species of native trees and plants.
“Without flying foxes there would be no food and shelter for our koalas, no pristine habitat for our many native birds, and no magnificent forests for all of us to enjoy,” Mr Boyd said.
“Flying foxes often get a bad rap in the community but they are native animals and their place in the ecosystem is so important and we need to look after them,” he said.
Council is continuing work on its Flying Fox Improvements project which is supported by a grant from the NSW Government’s Environmental Trust.
The project is improving the condition of vegetation in five flying fox camps in the Byron Shire at Bangalow, Byron Bay, Suffolk Park and Mullumbimby.
“If we have better habitat in the flying fox camps then they will be less inclined to roost near houses,” Mr Boyd said.