Flying-foxes: questions and answers
Why do we need a balanced approach to flying-fox roost management?
The Queensland Government appreciates that flying-fox roosts can be a source of unpleasant noise and smells in some places. It also recognises the need for flying-fox management arrangements to achieve a balance between addressing the concerns of impacted residents with the need to protect and retain flying-fox populations in the wild. Flying-foxes play an essential role as pollinators for many native plant species.
A balanced approach to flying-fox roost management empowers local governments to act more responsively in the interests of their communities when flying-fox roosts are causing problems.
How do local governments manage flying-fox roosts?
The current flying-fox management framework gives local governments the right to disperse, remove or otherwise manage flying-fox roosts in designated urban flying-fox management areas (UFFMA) using non-lethal measures only and subject to a code of practice, the permission of relevant landholders and other applicable laws.
Local governments wishing to either conduct non-code compliant activities within an UFFMA or manage a roost outside of an UFFMA are required to obtain a flying-fox roost management permit (FFRMP) from the department.
How can members of the public manage flying-fox roosts?
All members of the public may undertake low impact activities at roosts according to the ‘Code of practice—Low impact activities affecting flying-fox roosts’. Low impact activities are mulching, mowing watering, or weeding under or near roost trees, minor trimming of roost trees, and installation, maintenance and removal of infrastructure.
Members of the public and corporate bodies such as schools, body corporates and the like may apply for a FFRMP to manage flying-fox roosts on their own properties. The FFRMP holder has a number of actions at its disposal including destroying a roost, dispersing the roost, or disturbing the roost e.g. using water sprinklers to create a buffer or modifying a part of the roost through tree trimming and/or removal of roost trees.
Are local governments permitted to use lethal measures to manage flying-fox roosts?
No. Local governments have generally approached flying-fox roost management in a well-considered and deliberate manner, finding the balance point where community expectations are met whilst not threatening flying-fox conservation and welfare.
The current framework (Code of practice—Low impact activities affecting flying-fox roosts and Code of practice—Ecologically sustainable management of flying-fox roosts ) only authorises non-lethal management methods, and will continue to prohibit lethal measures being used as part of any roost management response.
How does the government ensure conservation of flying-foxes?
Flying-foxes are classified as protected wildlife in Queensland under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.
What about animal welfare considerations?
The main purpose of the flying-fox codes of practice is to ensure that the chance of management actions under the codes resulting in harm to flying-foxes is minimised and that appropriate welfare standards are upheld.