Flying foxes

Whitsunday Regional Council is aware of a number of flying fox roosts within our region. In partnership with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, we monitor and manage these populations.

Legal Requirements
In November 2013, the Queensland Government introduced “as of right” authority under the Nature Conservation Act 1992, this enabled Local Governments to undertake non-lethal management of Flying Fox roosts in designated urban Flying Fox management areas (UFFMA’s). 

The “as of right” does not require Whitsunday Regional Council to take action merely because a Flying Fox population exist within an UFFMA, but instead allows Council to act without applying for a Flying Fox Roost Management Authority.

All actions that Council undertake must comply with the Queensland Governments Flying Fox Management Guidelines and the Code of Practice issued under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. 

Outside of UFFMA’s, any activity undertaken by any landholder (Council or private landholder) that will interfere with a Flying fox roost will require a Flying fox Roost Management Authority, issued by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

What Council intends to do
Flying-foxes play an important role in the natural environment, especially in regards to seed dispersal and pollination. Where Council owned or controlled land is inhabited, or affected by flying-foxes, and their presence significantly impacts residents or the community, Council will consider appropriate non-lethal measures to manage flying-fox roosts.

The decision which is taken will be based on a risk assessment and all activities undertaken will meet all relevant guidelines.

What Private Landholders can do
Private Landholders can now undertake ‘low impact activities’ on their land, as long as it meets all requirements within the ‘Low impact activities affecting flying-fox roosts Nature Conservation Act 1992 Code of Practice’.

For all other activities which are not considered as ‘low impact’ or are outside of an UFFMA , private landholders are required to seek appropriate permission from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.
Flying-foxes and Health Risks
In 1996, the Australian bat lyssavirus (ABL) was first identified in flying-foxes. Although all flying-foxes have the potential to be contaminated with ABL, only a small percentage of animals carry the virus. 

ABL can only be transmitted to humans when saliva from an infected animal comes in contact with human tissue through an open wound (a scratch or a bite) or with mucus membrane (eyes, nose and mouth. 

This can occur even in the first few hours after an animal has died, so no flying-fox, alive or dead, should be handled.
Humans are not exposed to Australian bat lyssavirus through living or working near a roost or an area where flying-foxes may be feeding. 

Further Information
For more information regarding flying-foxes and management options, visit the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection at or phone 13QGOV (13 74 68). 

For more information on ABL and human health, visit Queensland Health at or phone 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84). 

For more information on ABL or animal health, visit Biosecurity Queensland's website at or phone 13 25 23. 
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