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Saving flying foxes

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July 17, 2017

Just 400 grey-headed flying foxes remain in Tatura’s Cussen Park after it was inundated with an estimated 10000 in May.

Just 400 grey-headed flying foxes remain in Tatura’s Cussen Park after it was inundated with an estimated 10000 in May.

Greater Shepparton City Council environment manager Greg McKenzie said the council had contracted a specialist from Melbourne to evaluate the situation in May.

‘‘We actually decided to get someone along as this is the first time we’ve had to deal with numbers like this,’’ he said.

After conducting an independent report, Rodney van de Ree, from Ecology and Infrastructure, determined a number of recommendations for the council to deal with the protected species.

‘‘We’re in the process of developing a management response plan,’’ Mr McKenzie said.

The report revealed there was the potential to prune some of the trees located in the park.

‘‘The other possibility is mounting a concerted program to shift the flying foxes to another part of the park, so they don’t affect nearby residents,’’ Mr McKenzie said.

‘‘That’s where we’re at now.’’

The council has been working with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and Mr McKenzie said they had been keeping them updated.

‘‘To be sure, we do comply with legislation surrounding flying foxes as they are a protected species statewide as well as federally,’’ he said.

In May, DELWP environment and natural resources regional manager Sue Berwick said the flying foxes were an important native species and most camps were seasonal, known to migrate north during the cooler months.

Ms Berwick said the grey-headed and the little red species were protected.

‘‘The grey-headed flying fox is listed as threatened under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988,’’ she said.

Mr McKenzie said they were pleased the numbers had dropped.

‘‘We’re pretty excited to get a management plan sorted out and we’ve been working with the Cussen Park Advisory Group as well,’’ he said.

He said the public would be notified once the plan had been developed on how it would be implemented.

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