The Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney is conducting further monitoring that will result in the postponement of the planned flying fox relocation until next year, to ensure the success of the relocation and protection of the bat colony.
Botanic Gardens acting executive director Dr Brett Summerell said the additional monitoring program for the Grey-headed Flying Foxes would be implemented over the next few months to gain real-time data for the actual months the colony will be relocated next year.
“It’s important we collect more information on fitting radio and satellite collars so we can reduce any potential impact on the flying-foxes,” Dr Summerell said.
“Additional monitoring is necessary to assess the condition of the population and provide baseline data on weights and movements during the time of year the relocation is to be conducted – from May until the end of July,” he said.
The continued monitoring conducted by the Botanic Gardens will include monthly population surveys of the flying fox colonies within the Sydney region, radio tracking of movements between these colonies, and satellite tracking of movements outside of the Sydney region.
Dr Summerell said the monitoring conducted by the Botanic Gardens is the most extensive scientific study ever on the movements of this threatened species, contributing to conservation work to protect them.
“Through our studies, we’ll learn even more about flying-fox behaviour and ecology, particularly within the Sydney region, which will assist in next year’s relocation,” he said.
Dr Summerell said the Botanic Gardens will implement a strategy of short-term measures to limit damage to trees such as the Red Cedar and Kauri that were being threatened by the flying foxes.
“We’ll use interim methods to reduce the impact of the flying foxes on some of the most important and critically affected trees, and we’ll do everything we can to limit damage to the trees that are such an important asset to the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney,” he said.
“We’re working for a balanced approach to address the welfare of the flying fox population and preserve our much-valued trees.
“The Botanic Gardens is indebted to a large number of staff and volunteers who’ve dedicated many hours of their time to help us with our research and monitoring so far,” Dr Summerell said.