Charters Towers flying-fox roost at Young’s Block

In a joint project, the Charters Towers Regional Council, the Queensland Government Department of Environment and Science and the CSIRO are working on a trial to relocate the town’s flying foxes from the existing roost site in Lissner Park to an alternative roost site at Young’s Block, on the outskirts of Charters Towers. This site has been designed specifically to recreate the type of environment that currently encourages flying foxes to Lissner Park.

A successful relocation will ensure the continued sustainability of these important species while allowing the community to enjoy the beautiful open spaces of Lissner Park.

Carefully planned dispersal activities to encourage the flying foxes to move to the new roost had been planned for July 2020, however these activities have had to been postponed as little red flying foxes have arrived unexpectedly in large numbers, and some of them brought pups. These young animals are now too large and heavy for their mothers to carry while foraging for food at night, but too undeveloped to be able to fly themselves. This means they would be likely to be abandoned by their mothers if the proposed dispersal went ahead at this time.

In August, when the little red flying fox young will be mature enough to be able fly to a new roost site, the roost population will be reassessed to determine if the dispersal activities can progress safely.

Map of Charters Towers flying fox relocation

Charters Towers flying fox relocation map

What is different about these relocation activities to previous attempts?

  • Evidence-based science:  Best practice flying-fox management strategies using extensive scientific research into flying fox ecology and behaviour have been used to create the best opportunity for the success of the alternate roost site.
  • A new roost site: Young's Block has been purpose-built to accommodate the relocated flying foxes.
  • Ecosure: Ecosure, an experienced environmental contractor, has been engaged to conduct the initial dispersal and relocation.

The methods used by Ecosure will include some of those that have been used in the past, however, this time the intention is to relocate the flying foxes to the new designated roost and to undertake sustained efforts to retain them in their new location.

The process is complex and may take weeks or months.

Following the initial dispersal period, Charters Towers Regional Council will manage the ongoing relocation activities as part of its flying fox management plan.

Information for residents

Dispersal activities were scheduled to take place in Charters Towers from July 2020, however dispersal activities have been deferred as flightless little red flying fox young have been identified at the Lissner Park roost site. The roost and dispersal activities will be reassessed in August, to ensure dispersal activities do not cause harm to young flying foxes.

What to expect

Between 4am–7am on days when dispersal activities are taking place and residents are likely to experience temporary disturbances including, but not limited to:

  • noise (e.g. whips, starter pistols, air horns)
  • light towers
  • smoke.

Flying foxes are wild animals and it is difficult to predict how they might respond or where they might go.

To assist with the success of the dispersal residents can:

  • Keep noise-sensitive pets indoors or locked up during dispersal activities.
  • Not disturb flying foxes that may be temporarily roosting in trees on your property during the day so they don’t return to Lissner Park and can continue to be relocated to Young’s Block.
  • Report the following incidents to the Ecosure flying-fox hotline on 0400 714 379.
    • Flying foxes that are present on your property.
    • Flying foxes in unsuitable locations including backyards, schools, health or aged care facilities, the airport and paddocks.
    • A flying fox that may be injured.
    • Any significant disturbances or issues caused by the dispersal activities.

It’s important never touch or handle flying foxes.

Further information

Ecosure flying-fox hotline

During dispersal activities report flying-fox related incidents to the hotline.
Phone: 0400 714 379