Support Bairnsdale’s Flying Fox Colony

26 April, 2018


Dear friends, groups & organizations,

As you may be aware, the Grey-headed Flying-fox (GHFF) colony along the Mitchell River @ Riverine Street, Bairnsdale has received attention over the last couple of years due to East Gippsland Shire Council’s (EGSC) plans to remove their habitat trees, a 0.5 ha stand of mixed trees including Poplars.

Stage 1 (out of 3) has already occurred, with stage 2 removal imminent. A broad ranging group of community members, including residents of Riverine Street, and Bairnsdale Urban Landcare, recently decided to form a ‘Friends of Bats’ group (name yet to be decided) to advocate for, protect and support Bairnsdale’s colony of Nationally Vulnerable GHFF.

Council’s rapid 3 stage tree removal program, to be completed by 2022, will not allow sufficient time for appropriate habitat to be regenerated. GHFFs will then re-locate to a less appropriate area causing stress to all involved, including the GHFF. Relocation and subsequent cruel dispersal methods are likely to have devastating impacts on GHFF numbers and breeding success.

This permanent maternal colony is used by GHFF for breeding and as a nursery for rearing young dependent pups. GHFF perform a crucial role as long distance pollinators of forests along the eastern seaboard of Australia, as far north as north QLD. Without them, the forested ecosystems could collapse, as tree populations will become genetically isolated and unhealthy. They are a KEYSTONE species in rapid decline, whose numbers can ill-afford the loss of young caused by any habitat destruction.

A meeting is being arranged with EGSC (the land manager), DELWP (who are responsible for the animals), Parks Victoria and stakeholders.

The general AIMS to be presented read as follows:

No further disturbance of the GHFF colony.

No destruction of the GHFF’s homes i.e. Poplar Alba. Adopt a LONG TERM management approach to gradually regenerate with appropriate native species as the Poplars naturally die.

Formation of Friends Group to advocate for, and work with the bats and the community – Conservation, Education, Community.

Scope and engage with agencies and stakeholders to have the colony area managed as a conservation reserve.

Note: an example of this already exists @ the Ku-ring-gai Flying Fox Reserve in Sydney, where a GHFF colony on council land is now successfully managed as a conservation reserve, additionally benefiting the community as a tourism asset. They have fantastic signage – still absent in Bairnsdale. See link:

See also this link to the Friends of Bats and Bushcare Inc at Yarra Bend in Melbourne:

Lawrence Pope, President of Friends of Bats and Bushcare Inc. at Yarra Bend recently gave a talk, inspiring us to move forward as a community living with bats, by starting something similar here.

There are other examples around Australia where bats are welcomed by communities, and seen as the precious resource they rightly are. We believe it can happen here with the aid of good public education and sound management.

We seek your support in writing, in person at the meeting, or both. This will become a broad network of community groups and individuals who play an ongoing role in advocating that our GHFF remain healthy in East Gippsland in perpetuity.

If you would like to support the group, but can’t attend a local meeting please reply with name, email and postcode and we will keep you informed. Please share this information with your networks.


Michelle Barnes

Lisa Roberts

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Eagle Point Landcare Coastcare supports the conservation of this Keystone species, the Grey Headed Flying Fox, in its current location. We support building up a conservation reserve at this location including signage, plantation of rainforest flora, and altering the walking track to avoid disruption of the colony.

  2. liz Harris says:

    Dear East Gippsland Shire 15/10/2018
    Liz Harris 0439060282
    I submit a request to the Eagle Point Precinct Structure Plan
    Please explore how we can keep the current kangaroo mob and protect their existing habitat and extend it so that they can live and move freely throughout the Eagle Point precinct. In addition revegetate the land to created habitat for the native wildlife for the locals and visitors to enjoy.
    These kangaroos have lived here for many years, they feed and live along the Gippsland Lakes at Eagle Point in land that is privately owned farmland. The farmland has been zoned for further residential development. If this goes ahead and the farmland is built on, the kangaroo’s current grazing area and habitat will be lost or reduced significantly.
    When people walk on the walking track they enjoy monitoring and admiring the kangaroos. We / people choose to live here in Eagle Point and in a regional rural setting so as to in an open space setting and to be close to nature.
    The land on the lake side including the current farm land could be re-vegetated and become a native parkland.
    Then wildlife could move freely around Eagle Point, through the adjoining farmland and around into the slit jetty.
    The land around the lake and throughout Eagle Point could be revegetated to encourage wildlife back to this area. It would be amazing to have Eagles back in Eagle Point as well as echidna, lizards, kangaroo’s, native birds and wildlife.
    Would it be possible to create an Eagle Point Community Project to encourage local residents to plant native species in residential gardens and to re-vegetate a percentage of the local farmland to encourage native wildlife to return?
    I understand that;
    Victoria covers a total area of around 227,416 square kilometers, of that land Agricultural land in Victoria occupies 127,952 square kilometers, or around 56 per cent of the state.
    Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 49,100 square kilometres, or 22 per cent of the state. However, to look at the bigger picture in contrast ‘Australia has more than 500 national parks covering an incredible 28 million hectares – almost four per cent of the country.’ Retrieved from
    The most common land use by area is grazing of modified pasture, which occupies 72,468 square kilometres or 32 per cent of the state
    Retrieved from

    I respect that East Gippsland has a large percentage of National Park and many reserves, however this land is on the lakes, either side of a public walking track, this area is an existing kangaroo habitat, they live around the existing farm land and existing residential area. Many locals and visitor love using the walking track and admiring the Kangaroos.
    There are many documented scientific research highlighting Global warming, habitat destruction, human population growth, biodiversity and the health benefits of people waking and having access to nature. Please make an effort to keep the land open for the existing Kangaroo habitat, for access to the lakes, and make plans to enhance this area by revegetating it and not building on it.
    Many Countries do not have any wildlife, animals or birds left due to human habitation. We are fortunate enough in Australia to still have a choice and protect what we love.  
    Kangaroo Habitat under threat due to rezoning of existing farmland to residential development

    Can You Help ?

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